Accidental ingestion of unidentified or misidentified mushrooms accounts for less than 2% of cases reported from local control centers to the National Clearinghouse for Poison Control Centers. Although the frequency of accidents involving these fungi is low, development of mycetismus is sufficiently serious to alert physicians to its occurrence.
A common epidemiologic pattern underlying mushroom poisoning involves the mycetophile (mushroom lover) who claims considerable experience in identifying mushrooms or who uses one of a variety of spuriously authentic tests for distinguishing poisonous from edible mushrooms. With complete confidence, he will gather these "delicacies"; often he will take part in their preparation, and most certainly he will eat a large portion with great relish. The occurrence of illness in persons who have eaten the mushrooms, the noneaters being spared, incriminates the mushrooms, and suggests that the distinguishing test's sensitivity is far from ideal, and that the mycetophile's experience is not considerable