Published: Thu, February 22, 2018
Medical | By Jackie Banks

Kratom Is Linked to a Salmonella Outbreak Across 20 States, CDC Says

Kratom Is Linked to a Salmonella Outbreak Across 20 States, CDC Says

On Feb. 20, 2018, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced that it was investigating, along with FDA, a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella that has infected 28 people in 20 states in the United States. Eight of 11 sick people interviewed had consumed kratom, the announcement says, leading the CDC to believe that supplies of the supplement may have been contaminated.

Laura Gieraltowski, the CDC's foodborne outbreak team lead, said it's not yet known how the kratom would have come to be contaminated with salmonella, noting it could have happened in processing, or the plants could have been contaminated in the field.

"Epidemiological evidence indicates that kratom is a likely source of this multi-state outbreak", the agency said.

Last month, the CDC sent out a warning about raw sprouts. Because of the revealing time slack, more instances of sickness might be accounted for, the CDC said.

Nevertheless, the supplement is available widely online and was even being sold for a time out of an Arizona vending machine. Kratom is not a synthetic substance. It can cause psychosis, seizure and death, according to the CDC.

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"To protect the public health, we'll continue to affirm the risks associated with kratom, warn consumers against its use and take aggressive enforcement action against kratom-containing products", said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. FDA recently reported that its studies had found the kratom plant was an opioid.

Kratom is an unregulated supplement that people use as an opioid substitute and a stimulant.

While this concern is legitimate, there is no way to know precisely how kratom does - or doesn't - work without rigorous scientific testing, which has not yet been done.

It says kratom is illegal in Indiana, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Vermont, Arkansas, Alabama and Rhode Island, as well as some local jurisdictions including Sarasota County in Florida, San Diego and Washington, D.C. The outbreak, which began in October, has resulted in at least 11 people being admitted to hospitals for treatment, but no deaths have been reported.

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