Asian herb kratom suspected as source of salmonella outbreak

Kratom a herbal supplement is a psychoactive drug derived from the leaves of the kratom plant.
Joe Raedle  Getty Images

Kratom a herbal supplement is a psychoactive drug derived from the leaves of the kratom plant. Joe Raedle Getty Images

Of the 11 people who have been interviewed for the salmonella investigation, eight reported consuming kratom in pills, powder or tea. Eleven people have been hospitalized. The Food and Drug Administration has issued increasingly urgent warnings about the herb, saying it acts like an opioid drug and advising people to stay away from it.

When the FDA began investigating the increase in contamination to imported spice in 2013, the agency warned that "general filth" could allow the bacteria to get into these products.

A doctor for the Centers for Disease Control told Channel 2 Action News this is the first time they've seen salmonella in Kratom products.

CDC officials are now investigating an outbreak of Salmonella I 4, [5], 12:b:- infections that have sprung up in 20 states.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is looking at a strong restriction on the sales of kratom, which is now traded freely on the internet and in some stores. Kratom is also called Thang, Kakuam, Thom, Ketom and Biak.

Kratom supplements have a new side effect: Salmonella

Local to Malaysia, the leaves of the kratom plant are customarily pounded and made into tea to treat torment, however it is additionally bitten, smoked or ingested in containers.

Kratom enthusiasts say it's enjoyable to use recreationally, but say it is also useful for treating withdrawal from opioid use and can be used to treat pain. Kratom has found a following in the United States, where there are 3 million to 5 million users, according to the American Kratom Association.

"Kratom is not an opiate". Gottlieb compared the substance mixes of kratom to opioids.

Salmonella can cause serious illness from getting an infection from a variety of sources, eating contaminated food or water, touching infected animals or not washing your hands. But genetic testing links the cases that have been reported. People who became ill after January 23 probably have not yet been confirmed for the CDC.

Unfortunately, investigators haven't been able to identify any particular supplier or brand behind the outbreaks at this time, so it is best to exercise caution and not consume any kratom products.

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