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Summer taking deadly toll on mushroom pickers

September 25, 2012, 3:50 UTC+3

As many as 101 persons were reported missing in the 92 days of this summer. Of them, only 76 were found alive

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MOSCOW, September 25 (Itar-Tass) —— Summer is taking its deadly toll on mushroom hunting lovers – as many as 101 mushroom pickers got lost in forests in the Moscow and neighboring regions alone this summer, and only 76 of them were found alive, leader of the Lizaalert voluntary rescue team Grigory Sergeyev told reporters.

“As many as 101 persons were reported missing in the 92 days of this summer. Of them, only 76 were found alive,” he said. “In the first two weeks of September, we received 45 calls.

“People thinks that mushroom picking is a safe thing,” he noted. In his words, the elder account for the majority of the missing, especially when they venture out unprepared. “We have several calls a day and regrettably not all lost people are saved,” he stressed and called on mushroom hunting lovers before going in the forest to make sure they have drinking water, warm cloths, a cell phone, and a compass.

Moreover, the object of this hunting – mushrooms – may also pose danger to human life and health. According to chief toxicologist of the Russian ministry of health Yuri Ostapenko, mushroom poisoning cases are registered every year, in winter period as well when people eat what they had preserved in summer. In his words, most of poisoning cases are reported from regions with scares forests where people are not very much experienced in telling eatable mushrooms from poisonous ones. These regions include the Voronezh, Lipetsk, and Belgorod regions in central European Russia, and the Krasnodar Territory in Russia’s south.

He called on people to seek emergency medical help in case of poisoning symptoms. Thus, Moscow has three toxicology centres, including one for children.

The most poisonous, specialists say, are deathcup amanitas, whose poison is enough to kill a healthy adult. The poisonous compounds are extremely stable and cannot be removed by soaking, cooking or drying.

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