Can morels (Morchella sp.) induce a toxic neurological syndrome?

Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2010 May;48(4):365-72. doi: 10.3109/15563651003698034.

Abstract

Introduction: Several cases of morel poisoning associated with neurological symptoms have been reported. The objective of this study was to describe this new mushroom poisoning syndrome.

Material and methods: Retrospective study of morel poisonings collected in the French Poison Control Centers from 1976 to 2006. Cases were classified as neurological syndrome (NS; tremor or dizziness/inebriation or unsteadiness/ataxia +/- associated with gastrointestinal symptoms) or isolated gastrointestinal syndrome.

Results: 146 patients presented gastrointestinal syndrome (median time to onset: 5 h) and 129 presented NS (12 h) after morel consumption. Gastrointestinal (67%) and other neurological symptoms were also present (mainly ocular/vision disorders: 26%, paresthesia: 7%, drowsiness/confusion: 6%, and muscle disorders: 6%). These patients more frequently ingested a large quantity of morels. Confusion with Gyromitra was ruled out.

Discussion: The NS is very different from the common gastrointestinal syndrome occurring after ingestion of poorly cooked morels and is not limited to a cerebellar syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ascomycota*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / chemically induced
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mushroom Poisoning / diagnosis
  • Mushroom Poisoning / epidemiology*
  • Mycotoxins / toxicity*
  • Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Nervous System Diseases / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Syndrome

Substances

  • Mycotoxins