As of May 10, the Food and Drug Administration reports that 11 more people are sick in the outbreak, which officials in Montana say has been traced to a restaurant in Bozeman. Although a California distributor sent the suspected morel mushrooms to multiple states the Gallatin City-County Health Department has reported that no known sick people have been reported from outside Montana.
With the 11 additional patients identified, the total of sick people stands at 41. The FDA has not specifically named the mushrooms as the source of the outbreak, but the agency is assisting Montana officials with the outbreak investigation. Local officials reported that morel mushrooms served at the restaurant in question are the primary suspect source in the outbreak.
As yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not posted any information about the outbreak, but the agency is backing up state investigators. The CDC generally does not report on outbreaks unless multiple states are involved.
The implicated restaurant, Dave’s Sushi in Bozeman, MT, remains closed and health officials say there does not appear to be an ongoing threat to the public. Only the morel mushrooms have been identified as being linked to the sick people.
Anyone who ate at the restaurant from late March through mid-April is urged to contact a doctor and public health officials, according to the Gallatin City-County Health Department and the Department of Public Health and Human Services. Contact information for all local health departments is here.
People who became ill generally had symptom onset between 30 minutes and 4 and a half hours after eating at the restaurant.
Health department officials report that the mushrooms were imported and have determined that they were not distributed to other restaurants or other businesses in Montana.
“The mushrooms were cultivated in China, shipped to a distributor in California, and subsequently sent to multiple states. There are no known associated illnesses in other states identified at this time,” health department officials said.
Local officials have not updated information on the outbreak since their initial statement on May 3. At that time they said of the 30 then-known patients three required hospitalization.
The cities of patients have not been reported, but officials across the state are involved in the investigation.
About morel mushrooms
Eating raw or undercooked morel mushrooms can be risky because they contain a naturally occurring toxin called hydrazine, which can cause gastrointestinal distress if ingested in sufficient quantities. The toxin is destroyed by cooking, so it’s important to always cook morels thoroughly before eating.
Hydrazine is a toxic chemical that can cause a variety of side effects if ingested in sufficient quantities. Some of the most common side effects of hydrazine toxicity include:
- Gastrointestinal distress: Hydrazine can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, as well as abdominal pain and cramping.
- Central nervous system effects: Hydrazine can affect the brain and nervous system, causing symptoms such as headache, dizziness, confusion, and seizures.
- Liver and kidney damage: Hydrazine can cause damage to the liver and kidneys, leading to jaundice, dark urine, and decreased urine output.
- Respiratory effects: Hydrazine can cause respiratory distress, including coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
- Cardiovascular effects: Hydrazine can affect the heart and circulatory system, causing chest pain, irregular heartbeat, and high blood pressure.
Hydrazine toxicity is relatively rare and typically only occurs if large quantities of hydrazine are ingested. Most people who consume undercooked or raw morels will not experience any significant side effects. However, if you do experience any symptoms after consuming morels, it’s important to seek medical attention right away.