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MEC to visit family of mushroom victims

Durban25092012.family praying after five members of the family died eating mushrooms

Durban25092012.family praying after five members of the family died eating mushrooms

Published Sep 27, 2012

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Durban - The MEC for Agriculture and Environmental Affairs Meshack Radebe, will visit the two families of six people who died last week after eating what are thought to have been poisonous wild mushrooms.

According to media reports, security guard Bheki Mkhize and a co-worker, found the mushrooms in a Mariannhill field last Tuesday.

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Bheki gave some to his girlfriend, Xoli Buthelezi, who used them to make a curry. The curry was eaten by Buthelezi, Bheki, Bheki’s two sisters – Nozipho and Nombulele – and Nombulele’s 17-month-old daughter, Emihle Mkhize. By Sunday all five had died. They apparently had hallucinations and diarrhoea and were coughing up blood.

A sixth person, from Clermont, died in hospital after eating mushrooms picked in a Marianhill field.

Radebe was overseas, meeting officials from the Shanghai Agricultural Commission and the Guangxi Agricultural Department to discuss a mushroom project, when the deaths took place.

“We will ensure that all avenues are explored to find the cause of the deaths,” Radebe said on his return last night, adding that support would be provided for the bereaved families.

The author of Mushrooms and Toadstools, A Guide to the Common Edible, Inedible and Poisonous South African Species, GCA van der Westhuizen, explained that poisonous and edible mushrooms that grew in SA were often closely related and easily confused.

- The Mercury

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