by Michael W. Beug Email: beugm@evergreen.edu
The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA
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Slide 45.
Paxillus involutus is a sinister and sly poisoner, easily distinguished by its markedly inrolled cap margin and its brown-staining gills that readily rub off. Paxillus involutus has not caused any confirmed fatal poisonings in North America, but poisonings may have occurred without realizing that the mushroom was at fault. In Europe, Paxillus involutus has long been eaten, even though it was sometimes known to cause gastrointestinal upset. Only in recent decades has it been recognized that sometimes Paxillus involutus can cause liver damage, kidney damage and even death. However, it is usually not the first meal that gets you. The sometimes fatal hemolytic anemia generally only develops in a few susceptible individuals who have eaten Paxillus involutus for years without ill effect but for unknown reasons start to produce IgG antibodies to something in the mushroom. One subsequent meal then triggers agglutination and red blood cell hemolysis follows. Initial symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, abdominal pain, and collapse with hypotension. Death may occur in 3 to 4 days. A Vancouver, Washington man who ate a large meal of this mushroom developed severe chest and lower back pains. He developed hemolytic anemia and was in intensive care for almost a week. His wife who only ate a couple of caps had low back pain and mild anemia.
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