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Family Falls Ill After Consuming Poisonous Mushrooms in Assam


Family Falls Ill After Consuming Poisonous Mushrooms

Sivasagar: In Assam's Sivasagar district, a distressing incident occurred as at least eight members of a family fell ill after consuming "poisonous" mushrooms. The incident took place in Sapekhati village when the affected individuals consumed mushrooms they had picked from their backyard for lunch. Shortly after, they experienced health complications and were promptly rushed to Rajapukhuri hospital by their neighbors. Immediate treatment was administered to prevent the absorption of toxins, resulting in the stabilization of their condition. Presently, they are known to be in stable condition.


Tragically, on April 9, three individuals, including a two-year-old child, lost their lives after consuming poisonous mushrooms in Assam's Golaghat district. The incident occurred in Merapani area, where 13 members from five families consumed the mushrooms on April 2. Initially taken to Merapani Community Health Centre, those in critical condition were later referred to Jorhat Medical College and Hospital (JMCH). Unfortunately, upon reaching the hospital, three individuals from the same family passed away. Poisonous mushroom consumption has previously resulted in several deaths in Assam.


Mushroom poisoning incidents are unfortunately common in northeastern India, particularly in Assam, with tea garden laborers often being the victims. The months of March and April, when death caps thrive in the state's tea gardens, are especially risky. Mushrooms found in the wild are considered a delicacy by the residents of tea gardens and other remote areas.


Due to these incidents occurring in remote areas, there is a lack of official records documenting the lives lost to poisonous mushroom consumption, further exacerbating the issue.


In April 2022, Assam Medical College and Hospital (AMCH) in Dibrugarh admitted a total of 35 patients in critical condition due to mushroom poisoning. Tragically, 16 of them passed away within two days of admission. Most of these patients hailed from the nearby districts of Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Charaideo, and Tinsukia, with a significant portion being tea garden laborers.


Similarly, in the hill district of Dima Hasao, six individuals fell critically ill in the same month after consuming poisonous mushrooms. Fortunately, they received immediate medical attention and survived.


In 2008, another devastating incident occurred in Assam, where 20 individuals, primarily tea garden laborers, lost their lives due to the consumption of poisonous mushrooms. This incident marked the deadliest mushroom poisoning incident ever reported in the state.


Following this tragedy, the state government swiftly formed a panel consisting of scientists from Assam Agriculture University (AAU) to investigate the matter. The panel identified a poisonous mushroom species known as "Amanita Phalloides" as the cause of the deaths.


Consumption of poisonous mushrooms can lead to gastrointestinal illnesses such as nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. Amanita phalloides, commonly known as the death cap mushroom, is responsible for approximately nine out of ten mushroom-related deaths, often resulting in liver failure.


Although the Assam government has been conducting awareness campaigns through newspaper advertisements to discourage the consumption of poisonous mushrooms, the messages often fail to reach remote areas due to various reasons, including illiteracy. Addressing this recurring issue requires targeted efforts to raise awareness and educate communities in remote regions about the dangers associated with consuming wild mushrooms.

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