A salmonella outbreak across 20 states has been linked to the unregulated herbal supplement known as kratom, warned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration have urged consumer to stay away from kratom, but it appears that the usage of the herbal supplement is still widespread.
Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Kratom
The CDC, in its report about the incident, said that it is working with the FDA and officials in several states to investigate the salmonella outbreak. A total of 28 people have been infected with salmonella across 20 states, with 11 hospitalized and no reported deaths so far.
Initial findings from the investigation, however, indicated that kratom is the source of the salmonella outbreak. Of the 11 patients interviewed regarding the food that they have eaten over the previous months, eight of them consumed kratom in the form of tea, powder, or pills.
The infections started in October, and samples of salmonella from the victims revealed that the germs were closely related in terms of genetics. This meant the contaminated kratom came from a common source, but so far, no specific brand or supplier of the herbal supplement has been identified.
The CDC recommended consumers to avoid consuming kratom in any form, as the investigation provides evidence that such herbal supplements may be contaminated with salmonella. Symptoms of a salmonella infection include fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea.
Previous Warnings On Effects Of Kratom
Kratom is native to Malaysia, where the leaves of the kratom plant are crushed to make tea, smoked, chewed, or taken as capsules. Kratom advocates claim that the herbal supplement may be used to help opioid addicts get through withdrawal symptoms in weaning themselves off the powerful painkillers.
The FDA, however, has issued several warnings against the consumption of kratom. In November 2017, the regulatory body warned that 36 deaths have been linked to the herbal supplement, with FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb saying that it is "very troubling" that patients think that kratom can treat the symptoms of opioid withdrawal.
Earlier this month, the FDA issued another public warning against kratom, as a study revealed that its compounds have the same effect on the human body as opioids. A study revealed that the regular use of the herbal supplement over at least six months resulted in kratom dependency, with the people experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms when they stopped ingesting kratom.