Death caps have been reported to taste pleasant.
This, coupled with the delay in the appearance of symptoms—during which time internal organs are being severely, sometimes irreparably, damaged—makes it particularly dangerous. Initially, symptoms are gastrointestinal
in nature and include colicky
abdominal pain, with watery diarrhea
, which may lead to dehydration
, and, in severe cases, hypotension
, and acid–base disturbances
These first symptoms resolve two to three days after the ingestion. A more serious deterioration signifying liver involvement may then occur—jaundice
, diarrhea, delirium
, and coma
due to fulminant hepatic failure
and attendant hepatic encephalopathy
caused by the accumulation of normally liver-removed substance in the blood. Renal failure
(either secondary to severe hepatitis
or caused by direct toxic renal damage
) and coagulopathy
may appear during this stage. Life-threatening complications include increased intracranial pressure
, acute renal failure
, and cardiac arrest
Death generally occurs six to sixteen days after the poisoning.
Mushroom poisoning is more common in Europe than in America.
Up to the mid-20th century, the mortality rate was around 60–70%, but this has been greatly reduced with advances in medical care. A review of death cap poisoning throughout Europe from 1971 to 1980 found the overall mortality rate to be 22.4% (51.3% in children under ten and 16.5% in those older than ten).
This has fallen further in more recent surveys to around 10–15%.
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