The death cap grows either singly or in groups, and typically occurs between July and October in Europe and North America, and from March to July in South Africa (4) . This deadly species contains two types of toxins. The effects of consuming even small amounts include initial dehydration, nausea and vomiting, followed (up to three days later) by severe kidney and liver damage, resulting ultimately in coma and death. There is no specific antidote for cases of poisoning, and treatment, if delayed, may require liver transplantation (6) .
There are many fictional accounts of Deathcap poisoning, and history is full of dubious reports of murder by mushrooms where Amanita phalloides was implicated. Agrippina, wife of Roman Emperor Claudius, is believed to have plotted to poison her husband by including the deadly Amanita phalloides in a meal of Caesar's Mushrooms, Amanita caesarea . Claudius certainly died of poisoning, and it may well have been Deathcaps that were used, either in a mushroom meal or as an extract added to his meal of Caesar's Mushrooms. It is very probable that the death in Vienna, in 1740, of Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI was the result of poisoning by Deathcap mushrooms. Many more people have died not at the hand of a murderer but because they have mistaken Deathcaps for other edible mushroom species.
First, activated charcoal is recommended to prevent poisons from being absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract and causing liver damage. This works well for most poisonings, but by the time a patient usually seeks medical assistance for amatoxins, the poison has traveled well past the GI tract. Similarly, centers often recommend pumping the patient’s stomach, which is hard on the body and does nothing to remove the amatoxins damaging the liver. Third, acetylcysteine is often prescribed. It is very effective at preventing liver damage in acetaminophen poisoning. But in amatoxin poisonings, it is completely ineffective, thins the blood unnecessarily, and gives misleading liver-function test results.