[Mushroom poisoning--the dark side of mycetism]

Ther Umsch. 2009 May;66(5):357-64. doi: 10.1024/0040-5930.66.5.357.
[Article in German]


Most mushroom intoxications become evident within 12 hours with vomiting and diarrhea. They can be divided into incidents with a short latency (less than four hours) and incidents with a long latency (longer than four hours). As a rule of thumb amatoxin poisonings must be considered in case of symptoms appearing with a long latency (8-12-18 h), especially after consumption of non-controlled wild mushrooms. Shorter latencies do not exclude amatoxin poisoning. Large meals of mushrooms, which are rich in chitin, mixed meals and individual factors, may shorten latency and disguise amatoxin poisoning. Any vomiting and diarrhea after mushroom consumption is suspicious. Unless the mushrooms are not to be identified within 30 minutes by an expert, specific treatment for amatoxin poisoning must be started. Identification shall be achieved by macroscopic or microscopic means; and urine analysis for amatoxins are crucial. By commencing treatment before analysis, mortality rates may be as low as 5%. Current standards in amatoxin poisoning treatment can be obtained at the Swiss Toxicological Information Centre (Phone 145), where contacts to mycologists are available as well. Emergency mycologists are listed on the website www.vapko.ch. Of the 18 different syndromes we present the most common and most important in Switzerland. In an overview all of them are listed. Early gastrointestinal syndrome with its short latency of less than 4 h and indigestion with a very variable latency are the most common. Psychotropic symptoms after consumptions of fly agaric and panther cap are rare, in case of psilocybin-containing mushrooms, symptoms are frequent, but hardly ever lead to medical treatment. In case of renal failure and rhabdomyolysis of unknown origin, completing a patient's history by questioning nutritional habits might reveal causal relationship with ingestion of orellanin-containing mushrooms or tricholoma equestre respectively. Mushrooms in the backyard are attractive for children. We discuss possible approaches.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Emergencies*
  • Humans
  • Mushroom Poisoning / etiology
  • Mushroom Poisoning / therapy*
  • Mycotoxins / analysis
  • Mycotoxins / poisoning


  • Mycotoxins