3 die, 6 hospitalised after mushroom poisoning

About 30 species of mushroom are known to be fatally poisonous

BY BRENNA MATENDERE/stephen chadenga

THREE family members died while six others were hospitalised last week at Muwonde Hospital in Chirumanzu after reportedly consuming poisonous mushroom.

Midlands provincial medical director Solomon Nyadundu confirmed the incident yesterday and said the nine family members first sought medical attention at Chaka Clinic on Wednesday last week and were transferred to Muwonde Hospital the same day where an 80-year-old woman died upon admission.

“The next day, a boy aged 15 also died. Later on that day, the mother of the family aged 31, who is believed to be the one who went to fetch the mushroom, also died,” he said.
Nyadundu said the six survivors, of which four were still hospitalised, were children aged between five and eight.

“The information that we gathered concerning the incident is that the children, who are hospitalised, only partook of the soup of the mushroom. The adults who died on the other hand, partook of the mushroom itself,” Nyadundu said.

Chaka villagers, who spoke to Southern Eye yesterday, revealed that the deaths could have been avoided had the family sought medical assistance early.

“The family actually partook of the mushroom on Sunday evening. On Monday, they started complaining of stomach pains, but did not go to the clinic. On Tuesday, they also did not go the clinic, thinking the pain would subside. They only went to the clinic on Wednesday which was three days later and that mistake cost them because it was too late,” Givemore Chipere, a villager from Chaka, said.

Chipere added that the mother fetched mushroom that had grown under gumtrees which are common in the resettlement area.

Mvuma police are investigating the case under IRB No 4288103.

Francisco Masendeke, a member of the Midlands Provincial Council, who represents Chirumanzu district, said efforts were being made to help the surviving minors.

“As a community, we are planning to fundraise for the surviving children and also ensure that they get help to overcome the trauma. I will be speaking to government authorities and other well-wishers to help in that tragedy,” he said.