Mushroom Poisoning Outbreaks in China 2020

China, 2020 marks a new case of a mushroom poisoning outbreak. Known reports on the effect of mushroom poisoning are acute liver failure, rhabdomyolysis, acute renal failure, and hemolysis. All of those are caused by poisonous mushrooms. The most lethal mushrooms are from the species genera Amanita, Lepiota, and Galerina cause liver failure. Besides that, Russula subnigricans leads to rhabdomyolysis.

Total Cases

In 2020, there are total of 676 investigations on poisonous mushrooms. It involves at least 102 species in which 24 of them are newly recorded in China. Gyromitra venenata was the new species recorded after case in Yunnan and Guizhou province. Rare poisoning of Shiitake mushroom was also recorded along with Paxillus involutus hemolysis poisoning.

From those 676 poisoning cases, 24 of them are from provincial-level administrative division. It involves 1719 patients and 25 deaths. The cause of the poisoning may differ from one person to another. 93 patients from 24 incidents directly eat the mushroom from market or given by friends, 51 patients from 12 incidents are poisoned after eating dried mushrooms. 404 patients from 131 incidents along with 7 deaths are caused by mixed caused. Besides that, 3 rare clinical syndromes were also recorded. Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA)-blocking mushroom poisoning caused by Gyromitra venenata, Hemolysis poisoning caused by Paxillus involutus, and Shiitake mushroom dermatitis caused by Lentinula edodes.


These cases are widely distributed across China. The region of Southwest China was the most severely affected region. There are 200 incidents, along with 604 patients and 15 deaths. Central China has more incidents and patients than Southwest China (323 incidents, 707 patients), but come up with fewer death (4 deaths). East China had 82 incidents, 159 patients and 0 deaths. South China with33 incidents, 146 patients, and 3 deaths, North China with 22 incidents, 69 patients, and 1 death.  Northwest China with 13 incidents, 30 patients, and 1 death and Northeast China with 3 incidents, 4 patients, and 1 death.

The causes of the death are from 7 major clinical syndromes. Acute liver failure, acute renal failure, rhabdomyolysis, hemolysis, gastroenteritis, psycho-neurological disorder, and Shiitake mushroom dermatitis were the main causes of the death. Nine species were responsible for the acute liver failure, Total of 56 species is responsible for the gastroenteritis. The top 3 species of the mushrooms are Chlorophyllum molybdites, Russula japonica, and Entoloma omiense. Around 28 species was found responsible for the cause of psycho-neurological disorders. Amanita subglobose, A. rufoferruginea, Gymnopilus dilepis, A. melleiceps, and A. sychnopyramis f. subannulata are the top species that cause this effect. Besides that, around 33 edible species was found guilty of the poisoning incident. However, this is caused by consuming these species along with other species which are poisonous.

Know What You Eat

To avoid getting poisoned by these mushroom species, people need more knowledge on which mushroom is safe, and which are not safe. Therefore, it is necessary to implement science for mushroom to reduce the chance of people got poisoned. In other hand, the people itself needs to raise self-awareness regarding on wild mushrooms. So just to be safe, it is better to consumed processed mushroom. Mushroom products from Meatless Kingdom are safe, healthy and will not caused food poisoning because it has certification from local authorities. It taste better than wild mushrooms and also safer to consumed.

Source:China CDC Wkly. 2021 Jan 15; 3(3): 41–45.

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