• Kyodo

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Four more people have been hospitalized with acute brain disorder after eating “sugihiratake” mushrooms, officials in Akita Prefecture said Thursday.

The announcement comes a day after the prefecture reported two new deaths from acute brain disorder and aired suspicions that the mysterious fatalities might be linked to the mushroom variety, known as Angel’s Wings in English.

Acute brain disorder is caused by a temporary impairment of brain tissue and can happen to an otherwise normal person.

The four who were confirmed ill on Thursday had all eaten the mushroom variety. Three of the four had previously suffered from kidney ailments, prefectural officials said.

The two deaths announced Wednesday — that of a woman in her 80s and a woman in her 60s — brought the number of people who have died after suffering acute brain disorder since mid-September to six in Akita Prefecture, and to 12 in total in Akita, Yamagata and Niigata prefectures. It is unusual that so many cases have been reported in such a short span of time.

The woman in her 80s had kidney problems and the woman in her 60s had received dialysis treatment. Both died a week to 10 days after eating wild sugihiratake.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry asked prefectural governments across Japan last week to issue warnings to people with kidney problems not to eat the mushrooms, which have the Latin name Pleurocybella porrigens.

The ministry has said it will collect these mushrooms from the market to check whether they contain any pesticides or heavy metals.

Meanwhile, the Niigata Prefectural Government said Wednesday that two more people — a woman in her 50s and a man in his 70s — have been hospitalized for possible acute brain disorder after having eaten the mushrooms. The two had received treatment for kidney problems, prefectural officials said.

The Gifu Prefectural Government also said Wednesday that a man in his 70s was diagnosed with acute brain disorder after eating the mushrooms.

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