Kratom supplements have a new side effect: Salmonella

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Getty Images

21 February, 2018

Native to Malaysia, the leaves of the kratom plant are traditionally crushed and made into tea to treat pain, though it is also chewed, smoked or ingested in capsules. It warned that people who use kratom in place of opioids subject themselves "to an unregulated product that has not been proven safe or effective". Of 28 people infected, 11 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.

The bad news about kratom continues with the CDC's announcement, which says a nationwide bout of salmonellosis, or salmonella infections, may be related to it. Twenty-eight people from 20 states across the country had come down with same strain of salmonella as of February 16, according to the CDC. The supplement may also be sold under names including Thang, Kakuam, Thom, Ketom and Biak. Gottlieb compared the substance mixes of kratom to opioids. 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 contains alkaloids which bind with the same opiate receptors in the brain that prescription and street opioid drugs do.

So with the two agencies hamstrung, kratom remains in a federal limbo, although it has been banned in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

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Salmonella is a bacterial infection often spread through exposure to contaminated water or food, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Kratom ought not be expended in any frame, the CDC stated, in light of the fact that the wellspring of salmonella sullying has not been recognized. People who became ill after January 23 probably have not yet been confirmed for the CDC.

"Based on current information from this investigation, CDC recommends people not consume kratom in any form because the specific source of Salmonella contamination has not been identified", according to today's outbreak alert.

"No common brands or suppliers of kratom have been identified at this time".

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