Published: Thu, February 22, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Kratom Linked to Nationwide Salmonella Outbreak

Kratom Linked to Nationwide Salmonella Outbreak

Kratom, the controversial plant used by some as an opioid substitute, is at the center of a multistate Salmonella outbreak, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue a recommendation against the consumption of kratom in any form.

Cases have also been reported in Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania and OR to name a few. 11 people nationwide have been hospitalized.

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Kratom is a drug derived from a plant native to Southeast Asia. The ill people reportedly consumed kratom in pills, capsules, powder, or tea.

"Because no common source of Salmonella-contaminated kratom has been identified, CDC is recommending against consuming any kratom", the agency said. "FDA is concerned that kratom, which affects the same opioid brain receptors as morphine, appears to have properties that expose users to the risks of addiction, abuse, and dependence", the alert reads. The agency also began taking action to prevent dietary supplements containing kratom from entering the US.

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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. In October 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was poised to criminalize use of the plant, but it backed away from that position after facing Congressional opposition and a social media storm.

On Feb. 6, the FDA reported that the kratom products have been linked with 44 deaths; these deaths, however, often involved other substances besides kratom. "Kratom should not be used to treat medical conditions, nor should it be used as an alternative to prescription opioids", said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a statement. The CDC reports that it's confirmed 28 people in 20 states have contracted the strain of Salmonella, which gives people diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps.

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"I want to be clear on one fact: there are now no FDA-approved therapeutic uses of kratom", Gottlieb said.

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