There's been an increase in the number of patients who've become ill with salmonella because of products containing kratom, a southeast Asian plant.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 47 more individuals have contracted illnesses, bringing the total to 87 cases across 35 states.
For the uninitiated, kratom may come in the form of pills, capsules, or powders made from ground plant leaves. It is often used to treat pain and as an opioid substitute to ease withdrawal symptoms among addiction patients.
No Deaths So Far
The illnesses accounted for include those who started between Jan. 21, 2017 up to Feb. 24, 2018, the CDC says. It affects a wide range of individuals, from six-year-olds to 67-year-olds. More than half of the affected individuals are male. Fortunately, there have been no reports of deaths due to the salmonella outbreak.
Symptoms of salmonella can start occurring between 12 to 72 hours after a person is affected. Symptoms may include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever. The symptoms may last for up to a week, and the individual might not report it to a physician immediately, which is why there's a delay in pinpointing new cases, according to the CDC.
"Illnesses that occurred after February 20, 2018, might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill with Salmonella and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of two to four weeks," the CDC said.
Most individuals, when affected, are able to later recover without treatment. However, young people, very old people, or those with weak immune systems are at risk of contracting serious complications and severe illness.
Investigators have interviewed the new batch of affected patients, and out of 55, 40 said they consumed kratom before their symptoms began. According to the CDC, despite incriminating information that kratom is the perpetrator behind the illnesses, it's difficult to pinpoint a single brand of supplier that's linked to the outbreak.
For now, the CDC advises against consumption of Kratom in any form as officials investigate the issue. Health investigators are trying to determine where people purchased their kratom from and are sending supplement samples for further testing.
"At this time, CDC recommends that people not consume any brand of kratom in any form because it could be contaminated with Salmonella and could make people sick. This investigation is ongoing and we will provide updates as needed."