Poisonous mushrooms claim 14 lives in northeastern states

Imphal, April 15 (IANS) The toll in the northeastern states from eating poisonous mushroom has risen to 14, a Manipuri housewife becoming its latest victim on Friday. Her two children, aged 6 and 9, died last Sunday after eating the mushroom curry.

Her 12-year-old daughter had already died on last Thursday.

Though the children died one after another, the tribal mother was helpless since there was no bus or other forms of transportation within the sub-division to take the affected to district town for medical help.

Official sources told IANS that the state governments will launch an awareness campaign among the tribals in these states not to pluck and consume wild mushrooms which are lethal.

Police said the middle-aged housewife died in the morning at Parbachong village in Parbung sub-division of Manipur’s Churachandpur district.

Villagers told IANS there is a hospital at Parbung, the sub-divisional headquarters. In the absence of telephones, transportation and other means of communication, the doctors were unaware of the tragedy.

Villagers said the family had plucked wild mushroom and consumed the curry on Saturday.

The father of the children and a grown up son were in the paddy field working and the survived because they skipped the meal made of the poisonous mushroom.

In Mizoram, five members of a family had died after similarly consuming poisonous mushroom a few days ago. A girl, aged 3, who was asleep was the only member of the family who survived.

Five members of another family in Garo hills in Meghalaya also died in similar circumstances.

The mountains in the northeastern region are fertile and edible vegetables grow in plenty. The tribals pick up these for daily consumption.

However, there is no fool proof means to identify the poisonous mushrooms.

Most of the educated sections are avoiding mushroom consumption. Except for the news reports in the local media, there is no health warning to the people from the governments so far.

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