Kratom Is Linked to a Salmonella Outbreak Across 20 States, CDC Says

Glen Mclaughlin
February 22, 2018

We normally think of Salmonella as affecting food, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that it's also being found in kratom, a plant that mimics the effects of opioids. Some consumers have hailed the drug as a "natural" pain remedy, but some medical experts say it can be unsafe, even deadly.

Despite its perceived health benefits, the consumption of kratom has led to a Salmonella outbreak that has affected at least 28 people-ages 6 to 67-in 20 states in the U.S. Eleven of those people have been hospitalized. But it is under intense scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration.

Meanwhile, Missouri-based Divinity Products Distribution has promised to recall and destroy kratom-containing products sold across the United States under the brand names Botany Bay, Enhance Your Life and Divinity, the FDA said Wednesday. Herbal products containing kratom are gaining popularity in the USA - people report taking these products to treat pain, anxiety or depression, as well as symptoms of opioid withdrawal.

Still, concern about kratom is mounting, especially because some people appear to be using the supplement as a way to step down from opioid painkillers like heroin and morphine.

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Public health investigators interviewed the patients, and discovered that several had recently taken kratom in pill, tea, or powder form. The Company has also agreed to stop selling kratom-containing products.

Kratom is said to help ease opioid withdrawal, but is sometimes used recreationally.

Gottlieb acknowledged that some may be using kratom to wean themselves off of more powerful opioids. Kratom is likewise called Thang, Kakuam, Thom, Ketom and Biak. Earlier this month, Food and Drug Administrator Scott Gottlieb warned consumers about kratom, saying an FDA analysis shows compounds in the plant act like prescription-strength opioids.

The American Kratom Association and patients who use the supplement for pain control immediately pushed back on that decision.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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