Mushrooms led to ‘whiplash-like eruptions’

A 53-year-old woman has been left counting the cost of eating shiitake mushrooms at an Asian restaurant here.

Mushrooms led to ‘whiplash-like eruptions’

This follows medics at University College Hospital Galway reporting the first case of shiitake mushroom- induced flagellate dermatitis in Ireland. The woman presented to the hospital’s dermatology outpatient clinic with itchy skin widespread and long red rashes across her back and legs.

Medics carried out routine tests and they all tested normal and didn’t provide any clue to the baffled doctors as to how the rash got there.

In a report in the new edition of the Irish Medical Journal outlining the case, the medics state on detailed questioning from them, the woman reported eating shiitake mushrooms at an Asian restaurant two days prior to the onset of the rash.

The doctors then made their diagnosis of shiitake mushroom-induced flagellate dermatitis based “on the classical pattern of whiplash-like eruptions” on the woman’s skin and the history of eating shiitake mushrooms.

Those who contract the shiitake mushroom-induced flagellate dermatitis have normally eaten undercooked or raw shiitake mushrooms.

The rash remained on the woman’s body for four weeks eventually disappearing without any scarring after topical steroid therapy and going on a five-day course of a steroid, Prednisolone.

Shiitake is the second most commonly consumed mushroom worldwide. It is used in Asian medicine for its anti-carcinogenic and antihypertensive properties.

Also, extracts of these mushrooms are used in over-the-counter dietary supplements designed to improve the immune system.

According to the Irish Medical Journal report, the first case of shiitake mushroom-induced flagellate dermatitis was described in Japan in 1977 and it is now being reported in the Western world.

The medics state: “Shiitake flagellate dermatitis is a rare entity in the Western world but the popularity of Asian cuisine is increasing and the online sales of health food supplements is soaring.

“We are going to see more cases of shiitake flagellate dermatitis,” they said.

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