Mushroom poisoning adds to rainy French summer woes

August 7, 2011

Tourists and locals in southwest France are flocking to hospital wards after eating mushrooms that this year sprouted much earlier than usual due to the rainy summer, officials said Sunday.

Twenty-one people were treated for , and stomach pains on Friday in hospitals in the Lot department (region), after munching on what they thought were edible mushrooms.

Thirty more have been treated in the nearby Tarn-et-Garonne department over the past two weeks, while dozens more may have been affected but not sought , hospital officials said.

Edible mushrooms usually appear in September in France but this year, due to a very hot spring and so far very rainy summer, they have sprouted early.

Tourists have spotted people picking mushrooms in the French southwest and decide to have a go themselves, but often gather the wrong type and end up in hospital, said Xavier Binetti, an emergency ward doctor in the Lot.

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