Toxic mushrooms in Iran kill 11 people and poison more than 800
At least 11 people have reportedly died in Iran after eating toxic mushrooms.
Emergency services in up to 10 provinces, mostly in the west of the country, reported that more than 800 people had become ill after mushroom poisoning and scores had been taken to hospital. It is unclear what kind of mushroom those affected had eaten.
Mushroom poisoning on such a large scale is rare in Iran. Most of those affected were from the province of Kermanshah, on the border with Iraq, where at least seven people were reported dead and 336 admitted to hospital. The neighbouring provinces of Lurestan and Kurdistan also reported high numbers of cases.
Authorities are scrambling to warn citizens against buying mushrooms sold in loose packaging, and from picking wild mushrooms, even if they resemble edible species. Eating poisonous mushrooms can result in a range of symptoms from a bad headache to gastrointestinal problems and death.
The semi-official Tasnim news agency said officials linked the phenomenon with abundant rain, which resulted in an excessive growth of wild mushrooms in western Iran.
Speaking to Tasnim, an Iranian woman living in a village in Kermanshah recounted the circumstances surrounding her mother’s poisoning. “Like previous springs, she went out and picked a lot of mushrooms,” said the woman, who was identified only by her first name, Behnaz.
“She fried some and ate them and got poisoned. We took her to hospital while she was feeling really terrible. She has since recovered and doctors are happy with her progress.”
Behnaz added: “Some of my mother’s neighbours also got poisoned and had similar symptoms but they felt much better and have since been discharged from hospital.
“Residents of this area always use wild mushrooms but have never had any issues and it’s surprising for us to see this happening this year in Kermanshah and its vicinity.”
Masoud, 31, from Kermanshah’s Firouzabad district said he felt lucky to be alive . “I couldn’t believe [it] as I ate these mushrooms all the time in previous years.”
Masoud said eating wild mushrooms was part of the local culture. “It is really strange. People in our area eat a great deal of wild mushrooms around this time of the year. They usually like [them] grilled.”