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Wild mushroom downs 14 among five families

ILOILO CITY, Philippines — Fourteen persons from a family of five, including four children, were hospitalized Tuesday afternoon due to vomiting and other symptoms associated with food poisoning, reportedly after eating a vegetable dish with wild mushroom, locally known as uhong.

Rushed to the hospital were spouses Billy and Nenita Gardose, both 51 years old, and their children and four grandchildren with ages ranging from 2 to 8 years old. The five families shared one roof at the Relocation Site in Barangay San Isidro, Jaro district of Iloilo City.

At lunch time that Tuesday, Nenita allegedly cooked laswa, a vegetable dish garnished with uhong, a wild mushroom given by a neighbor. Barangay Captain Felix Dureza said the uhong was taken from a vacant lot in the relocation site.

After two hours, the victims complained of stomach ache and began vomiting. Gardose's children said they felt like being intoxicated.

Using the barangay's vehicle, Billy rushed himself and his family to the Western Visayas Medical Center in Mandurriao district of the city.

As of early morning yesterday, the victims, except for two children, were already released from hospital confinement.

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The Iloilo City Health Office had already taken samples of the alleged poisonous mushroom. Food experts have warned on the dangers of collecting mushrooms in the wilds.

While there are estimated thousands of mushroom varieties, a good number are considered as toxic look-alikes or poisonous mushrooms that resemble edible ones, they said.

As such, it is advised to avoid mushrooms with white gills, a skirt or ring on the stem and a bulbous or sac-like base called a volva, and those with red on the cap or stem. They also warned the public not to consume any mushrooms unless you are 100 percent sure of what they are. (FREEMAN)

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