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Entries in Poisoning (2)

Wednesday
Nov212012

Mushrooms Kill Third California Senior; US Cases on Rise

Hemera/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- Another person has died from accidental mushroom poisoning at a California senior care facility, bringing the total death toll to three.

The third victim, whose name, age and gender have not been released, died on Saturday, according to the Sacramento Bee.

The first two elderly women died after a caregiver at their senior care facility inadvertently served them a meal with poisonous mushrooms picked on the Loomis, Calif., property. The caregiver and three other residents of Gold Age Villa were hospitalized, according to WTEN-TV, the ABC News affiliate in Sacramento.

Teresa Olesniewicz, 73, died Friday morning, and Barbara Lopes, 86 died Friday night, according to the county coroner.

"It looks like a tragic accident," said Lt. Mark Reed of the Placer County Sheriff's Department.

 

Reed told the Sacramento Bee that the caregiver "just didn't know" the mushrooms were poisonous. It is not clear what kind of mushroom the victims ate, however.

Dr. Pierre Gholam, a liver specialist at University Hospitals in Cleveland, said he has seen an uptick in wild mushroom poisonings in his area, too. More than two dozen patients have arrived in the past three years with telltale mushroom poisoning symptoms, he said, including diarrhea followed by kidney and liver failure.

Gholam, who spoke to ABC News by phone from a meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases in Boston, said doctors there from across the country report similar increases in mushroom poisoning patients, even in areas not typically known for mushroom poisonings, such as the Midwest.

Specialists historically see case clusters in Northern California and in the Northeast.

"Clearly, there is something that has changed, in my mind, that has led to more mushroom poisoning cases," he said. "It looks like a nationwide phenomenon."

The reasons are unclear but Gholam suggested that more people could be picking their own mushrooms in the bad economy to save money.

Gholam's hospital is one of only a few authorized by the federal government to give patients an antidote called silibinin, which blocks the poison from attacking the liver. Fourteen patients have come from up to 150 miles away for the life-saving drug.

The poison in these mushrooms is called amatoxin, and it's colorless and odorless, so people who pick or eat them won't know until it's too late, Gholam said. The poison fungi can also come in different sizes and shapes. Cooking or freezing the mushrooms does not deactivate the toxin.

Typically, people begin to feel sick within six hours of eating the mushrooms, and come down with severe diarrhea, which causes dehydration and kidney failure, he said. Without the antidote, liver failure can set in after 72 hours, and the needs a liver transplant after 96 hours.

"I think at this point, it is absolutely critical to spread the word -- especially to folks that picked mushrooms -- that the landscape has changed," Gholam said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May232012

Laundry Detergent Pods Poisoning Children

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- To some kids, the bright colors and bite-size packaging of single-use packets of laundry detergent simply look too much like candy. Tuesday night, one-and-a-half-year-old Jeivon Williams put one in his mouth and it burst.  He was rushed to the emergency room with severe nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

The packets are advertised as no more mess, spills or heavy jugs of detergent, but the American Association of Poison Control Centers is reporting a recent surge in calls about the packets making children violently ill.

“The children who are getting into these little pods are developing many more symptoms than we would have expected,” Bruce Ruck, director of drug information and professional education at New Jersey Poison Center, told ABC News.

The same thing that gives the packets their cute, convenient appeal is the very reason they are so incredibly dangerous. The container for Tide Pods even resembles a candy jar. Responding to the concerns, Tide told ABC News it plans to have new childproof containers out this summer.

The single-dose laundry detergent was introduced in the U.S. in February. The poison control center said it first started to link illness with the pods earlier this month. In the last 20 days, it has received close to 180 calls, almost 10 a day. Texas poison control centers report receiving 57 of those emergency calls.

Toxicologists aren’t sure exactly what in the product is making the kids sick. Other laundry detergents cause only mild stomach upset or even no symptoms at all. But the pods cause severe symptoms rapidly.

There are multiple reports of toddlers who, within minutes of swallowing or biting into one of the packets, developed vomiting, wheezing and gasping. Some of them became non-responsive or had to be put on ventilators or intubated.

While a sticker on the container is supposed to remind parents to keep the product away from kids, poison control is sending out an even stronger message: keep this eye candy out of reach and out of sight.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio