Lethal fungus found in an Australian rainforest

Lethal fungus

A lethal species of fungus, poison fire coral, among the deadliest around the globe, has been discovered in Cairns in northern Australia by a photographer. The fungus was previously thought to be found only in Korea and Japan.

A mycologist based at the James Cook University whose specialty is fungi, Marr Barrett stated hoe poison fire coral may lead to alarming symptoms if ingested. These include vomiting, fever, and stomach pains. This may ultimately lead to death because of brain nerve dysfunction or numerous organ failures.

Barrett stated that out of some hundred toxic mushrooms which researchers are familiar with, this is the only one where toxins can be absorbed through an individual’s skin.

He added how most fungi, including death cap (mushrooms), can be handled just fine without observance of any symptoms what-so-ever. He said that people need to be aware of how a fungus may cause symptoms through touch.

He stated that if one intends to find it, they would have to be deliberately searching for it.

Palmer stated that he recognized it when he saw it. He stated that it hasn’t been seen south of Java, and that Java was only a newer discovery. He also predicted how they may be more widespread through the rainforest up there, since there were a lot of regions a little off the beaten track.

According to Barrett, there are so many things still undiscovered in Australia. He added how this was right in suburban Cairns, that it is not a difficult fungus to find and that it has suddenly turned up. He says that they were very interested in any more sightings that were made of it.

Barrett concluded that the fact that they can see such a distinctive and medically significant fungus-like poison coral right in their backyard showed how they had much to learn about fungi in northern Australia.