Kratom Salmonella Risk Results in CDC Warning to Avoid All Forms

A multi-state salmonella food poisoning outbreak has been linked to the herbal supplement kratom, leading federal health officials to urge consumers to avoid all version of the product. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an advisory on February 20, indicating that 28 people from 20 different states have been sickened by salmonella tainted kratom supplements, including at lease 11 incidents that resulted in hospitalization.

Testing has linked kratom supplements to the illnesses, however, no common brand or supplier has been identified. As a result, the CDC recommends consumers stop using kratom completely, which also includes products known as Thang, Kakuam, Thom, Ketom, and Biak.

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The illnesses began to surface in October2017, and have continued through this year. The most recent case was reported January 30. So far, people sickened have spanned in age from 6 to 67 years, with the highest number of cases have been reported in California, according to the CDC.

Kratom is a botanical product often advertised, erroneously, as a cure for certain ailments. It is derived from a plant which grows naturally in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The leaves are crushed to make powder, tea, herbal pills, and other products.

Users often take kratom to treat pain, anxiety, and depression. However, the FDA has not approved kratom to treat any type of condition. Many users began using kratom to treat opioid addiction and help with withdrawal symptoms.

Last year, the FDA issued a warning about several deaths linked to kratom. The agency also issued a warning update earlier this month indicating that kratom may not be safe for medicinal purposes because the chemical compounds found in the supplement are similar to opioids.

The chemical structure of the plant causes kratom to bind to the body’s opioid receptors, in the same way narcotic painkillers act. Additionally, kratom also binds to the receptors in the brain that contribute to stress responses. This may affect neurological and cardiovascular function and health.

So far, 44 deaths have been reported in association with the use of kratom containing products.

Salmonella infections can cause mild to severe health consequences depending upon the individual. The bacteria may cause a healthy person to experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain whereas the young or elderly with weakened immune systems may face more severe consequences, including fatal infections.

Among pregnant women, salmonella poisoning may cause still births and miscarriages. Occasionally, salmonella infections may travel through the bloodstream and produce illnesses such as arterial infections, endocarditis and arthritis, which can cause severe to potentially life threatening health consequences.

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