2 Dead, 4 Sick In Placer County From Wild Mushrooms

LOOMIS (CBS / AP) — Two residents of a northern California assisted living facility have died and four others are hospitalized after eating soup with wild mushrooms, authorities said.

Placer County sheriff’s officials said that Barbara Lopes, 86, and Teresa Olesniewicz, 73, died after eating the soup that had been prepared by a caregiver at the facility.

The caregiver who prepared the soup was among the six people sickened, said Sheriff’s Lt. Mark Reed. The conditions of the four people hospitalized were not immediately known, and their names have not been released.

Deputies determined the deaths were an accident after they were called to the Gold Age Villa in Loomis on Friday, Reed said. The caregiver “just didn’t know” the mushrooms were poisonous, he said.

Placer County officials referred questions about the incident to the California Department of Social Services, the agency that licenses senior care facilities.

Michael Weston, an official with the agency, said the incident was under investigation and had no further details to release. He said the facility is licensed to care for up to six elderly residents.

As far back as October 2009, the California Department of Public Health issued a statement warning that eating wild mushrooms can cause serious illness or death. According to state data, there were more than 1,700 reported cases of mushroom ingestion in California in 2009 and 2010. They included 10 cases of serious poisoning and two deaths.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)

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