The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) is investigating the deaths of three minors who died after eating poisonous mushrooms in Chivhu, a town located in the Mashonaland East province of Zimbabwe. The incident occurred on January 10, 2023, and the victims, who were living with their grandparents, had collected the mushrooms from a neighboring homestead.
According to a statement by national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, the minors ate some mushrooms that had been collected by 12-year-old Prudence Mhangami, who died on January 14th, 2023, while admitted at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals. Leona Zarura (2 years 8 months) and Mazvita Taderera (1 year 8 months) died upon admission at Sally Mugabe Hospital in Harare. Tatenda Mhangami (9) and Tendai Mhangami (7) were treated and survived.
The police found out about the incident through the media, as the relatives had not reported it. A post-mortem conducted on the bodies of two of the deceased minors concluded that death was due to mushroom poisoning. The post-mortem report for Prudence Mhangami is yet to be received, however, the police had to stop the burial process to conduct the post-mortem.
This tragic incident highlights the importance of education and awareness on the dangers of wild mushrooms and the importance of monitoring the food consumed by children. The Zimbabwe Republic Police implores parents and guardians to be more vigilant in monitoring the food their children consume in order to safeguard their lives. The public should not pick wild mushrooms indiscriminately without due regard for safety, and traditional leaders, school authorities, and communities are urged to educate both adults and youths on the dangers of picking mushrooms in bushes.
Furthermore, Nyathi also warned the public against buying mushrooms from questionable sources. He urged the public to be cautious with mushroom vendors who offer wares along street corners and highways. This is not the first case of mushroom poisoning in Zimbabwe, and it is important for people to be aware of the risks associated with consuming wild mushrooms.