Federal health officials are warning about a growing, multi-state Salmonella infection outbreak linked to kratom powder supplements, which has now sickened dozens of individuals across at least 27 states.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an update for the kratom powder Salmonella outbreak after receiving note of at least twelve more illness reports from seven additional states, bringing the total number of individuals impacted to at least 40, including 14 cases that resulted in hospitalization.
The CDC first warned of the kratom salmonella illnesses on February 20, when there were 28 reported illnesses from 12 states. After testing and performing epidemiological and trace back investigations, officials discovered the salmonella infections were linked to kratom supplements distributed across the United States.
No common brand or supplier has been positively linked to the outbreak, but health officials recommend that consumers stop using all kratom products, which also includes products known as Thang, Kakuam, Thom, Ketom, and Biak.
With the number of illnesses now reaching more than half of the United States, the CDC warns that the full extent of the outbreak may not yet be known. Illnesses that occurred after February 6, 2018, might not yet be reported, due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of two to four weeks.
Kratom is a plant native to Asia, whose leaves are taken and crushed to be made into tea or taken orally as an herbal supplement. The herb has become increasingly popular across the United States over recent years.
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.
Earlier this year, the FDA released a Kratom warning, stating the products may possess chemicals that bind to a user’s body receptors, similarly to opioids. The agency warned that very little is known about potential kratom side effects, and that the herbal supplement has not been approved for any medicinal purposes, despite widespread false advertising to the contrary.
Outside of the salmonella outbreak, the FDA has received reports of at least 44 deaths associated with the use of Kratom through its Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS). The agency indicates that further research and regulations may be needed to ensure the product is not used for medicinal or recreational purposes.
Late last month, the FDA released a kratom destruction notice calling for the voluntary destruction and recall of a large volume of kratom-containing dietary supplements manufactured and distributed under the brand names Botany Bay, Enhance Your Life, and Divinity Products Distribution of Grain Valley, Missouri.
The FDA announcement encouraged all manufacturers of kratom products designed for human consumption to take similar steps to remove their products from the market and properly destroy them.