Can you make the diagnosis?

Teresa and John are throwing a dinner party for their friends.  They make a stir fry dish with vegetables from their own garden and fresh mushrooms they picked themselves.

That night, both Teresa and John get abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.  By the next morning it has improved.  Their friends call to let Teresa and John know that they became sick after the party too.

Several days pass, and everyone seems to be getting better.  Then Teresa complains she feels weak and tired.  Throughout the next few hours, she seems to be getting worse, and is even acting confused.  One of their friends calls and is having the same symptoms, and also notes that his skin appears yellow.

What is causing the symptoms from the dinner party?

  1.  Food poisoning
  2.  Influenza
  3.  Mushroom poisoning
  4.  Hepatitis A



If you guessed 3.  mushroom poisoning, you are correct!

Amanita phalloides, also known as the death cap mushroom, is a poisonous form of mushrooms that can be confused with edible species.   It is responsible for the majority of fatal mushroom poisonings worldwide.   The toxicity of the mushrooms is not reduced by cooking.

Amanita phalloides initially causes abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea, but then can result in delirium, seizures, coma, and liver failure.  In some cases a liver transplant can be performed, but often amanita phalloides poisoning is fatal.

Amanita phalloides symptoms initially mimic food poisoning or the flu, with abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.  Hepatitis A can also have similar symptoms, and causes skin yellowing and abnormal liver function tests, but Hepatitis A is typically self-limited and improves on its own over time.

Amanita phalloides “death cap” mushroom:


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