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Victims of 'death cap' mushrooms identified

This post has been corrected; see note at the bottom for details.

A fourth person sickened at a Loomis, Calif., senior care home when they ate soup made from poisonous mushrooms has died, the Placer County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday.

The latest victim was Dorothy Mary Hart, 92, who died Thursday in an Auburn senior care facility, said sheriff's spokeswoman Dena Erwin.  Previously, authorities had reported the deaths of Barbara Lopes, 86; Teresa Olesniewicz, 73; and Frank Warren Blodgett, 90.

Three others, apparently including the caregiver who picked the mushrooms behind the Gold Age Villa home in Loomis, became violently ill after eating the soup Nov. 9.

Wild mushrooms are in season now, including poisonous North American amanitas that resemble edible mushrooms that are popular in Asia. White with a sprinkling of brown over the cap and known as the "death cap," the mushrooms sicken hundreds each year in California.

Health officials say toxins in the mushrooms cause liver damage and can lead to comas and, occasionally, death, especially with older people.

[For the record, Nov. 28, 10:20 a.m.: A previous version of this post stated incorrectly that the Gold Age Villa is a nursing home; it is a senior care facility.]

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-- Bob Pool

 
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