Netherlands sees sharp increase in wild mushroom poisonings

Wild mushrooms
Wild mushrooms. Photo: Netha Hussain / Wikimedia Commons

The number of people falling ill in the Netherlands after eating wild mushrooms, increased sharply in 2017. So far this year, the National Poisoning Information Center received 182 questions from medical care providers about mushroom poisoning, compared to 137 in all of last year, NU.nl reports.

Most cases involve young children who ate a small amount of poisonous mushroom, for example while  playing outside. "That usually ends well. Sometimes the children are given activated charcoal to absorb the toxins in the gastrointestinal tract", toxicologist Antoinette van Riel said to the newspaper. There are also a relatively high number of cases involving asylum seekers. Posters are therefore being placed in asylum centers, warning about poisonous mushrooms. 

Of the 182 reports this year, 14 people became seriously ill after eating mushrooms as a meal. Last year there were 12 serious cases and the year before 19. No one died from mushroom poisoning so far this year. 

According to Van Riel, there is an increasing trend of mushroom poisonings in the country. "Then years ago, there were practically none." She believes the increase can be attributed to more people going into nature to find mushrooms for cooking.

Mushroom season in the Netherlands runs from August to end November, when frost starts falling and mushrooms stop looking appetizing. 

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