Health Ministry Says 500 Ukrainians Poisoned By Inedible Mushrooms In 2 Months

KIEV, Ukraine -- More than 500 Ukrainians sought medical treatment in the past two months after eating poisonous mushrooms, the Health Ministry said Tuesday.

Poisoned mushroom

Altogether, 614 Ukrainians have been poisoned by mushrooms since the start of the year, a 55 percent increase over last year, the ministry said.

Forty people have died, including three children. In the last two months alone, 511 Ukrainians sought treatment.

Gathering mushrooms is a favorite pastime in Ukraine and other ex-Soviet nations.

Health officials blame the large number of poisonings on people confusing inedible mushrooms for the edible kind, and of improperly cooking mushrooms before eating them.

The poisonings were spread across the country, with the biggest number in the densely populated Kiev region.

Last year, health officials said that 397 Ukrainians were poisoned by mushrooms up to Oct. 30 last year.

Source: AP