Two residents of a Northern California assisted living home have died and four others have been hospitalized after eating soup with wild mushrooms picked by a caregiver, according to authorities.
Place County Sheriff Lt. Mark Reed told the Sacramento Bee that two residents of Gold Age Villa, 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 one of the six people sickened. Reed said that the unidentified caregiver "just didn't know" that the mushroom meal was poisonous.
"We wanted to make sure there was no foul play," Reed told News 10. "It looks like a tragic accident."
Authorities said that deputies called to the facility Friday determined that the incident was an accident.
"We got a report that some people had consumed some poisonous mushrooms," Reed told the Sacramento Bee. "We responded out to the facility and interviewed people to make sure there was no foul play. There wasn't any...It was an accident," Reed said.
It is still unclear what type of wild mushroom was eaten during Friday's tragedy.
California's Department of Social Services is now investigating the incident, which follows an incident in October when a Connecticut woman sickened her entire family after feeding them wild mushrooms she picked in her backyard.
Health experts said that collecting and eating wild mushrooms can cause cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases liver and kidney failure.
While the type of mushroom consumed in the living facility remain unknown, two varieties of toxic mushroom commonly found in the state are the Amanita ocreata and the Amanita phalloides, dubbed the "destroying angel" and the "death cap", are considered extremely poisonous.
The state's health department says that there more than 1,700 reported cases of mushroom ingestion in California in 2009 and 2010.