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  • 1440 Daily Digest

Death Cap Mystery

Australian homicide detectives are investigating a suspected mushroom poisoning after three relatives died and a fourth was critically ill following a home-cooked family meal at a woman's home. The woman, who didn't become ill herself and was separated from her husband (the son of one of the couples attending the dinner), is a suspect but was released after questioning.

According to officials, the symptoms of the family members who were affected are consistent with the death cap—the world's deadliest mushroom, which is responsible for roughly 90% of worldwide mushroom poisonings. The death cap (see overview) is native to Europe but can be found in other places around the world as an invasive species. It was first confirmed in Australia in the 1960s, growing near introduced trees, like oaks. The death cap's fatal toxin alpha-amanitin attacks the liver and kidney, causing vomiting and diarrhea, and can lead to death. Scientists have been working to find an antidote.

It's unclear what food the affected people were each served or the origins of the mushroom; the woman declined to answer such questions. See other fatal mushrooms here.

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