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CDC warning links kratom to salmonella outbreak across 20 states

21 February 2018

The CDC is now conducting an investigation into the outbreak, which has hit people in California, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New York, and other states.

In 2017, the state of Washington had 23 cases of Salmonella associated with the outbreak.

When the FDA began investigating the increase in contamination to imported spice in 2013, the agency warned that "general filth" could allow the bacteria to get into these products.

The federal agency had received confirmation of 28 people across 20 states with infections from Salmonella I 4, [5], 12:b:- as of February 16, according to the outbreak notice posted today. The CDC could not identify a common brand or supplier linked with this outbreak. Evidence suggests that the source of the outbreak is possibly kratom, which is a plant that is used as a substitute to opioids. Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration classified kratom as a unsafe opioid, prompting backlash from some scientists studying its medicinal uses and proponent of Kratom who claim the plant can relieve pain, combat fatigue and improve mood. "Combined with psychosocial support, these treatments are effective". The illness usually lasts 4-7 days, however, an unusually high rate of cases have been hospitalized in this current outbreak.

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The percentage spiked over the last three weeks, and is now higher than at this time in any of the last three flu seasons. Reported cases of people with influenza-like illnesses are more than twice the activity seen in a typical flu season.

On February 6, the FDA classified kratom, a botanical substance widely used as a painkiller, despite agency approval, as an opioid. Kratom side effects include seizures and depression.

"Cases of mixing kratom, other opioids, and other types of medication are extremely troubling because the activity of kratom at opioid receptors indicates there may be similar risks of combining kratom with certain drugs, just as there are with FDA-approved opioids", Gottlieb said. At least one of the chemicals may also have some addictive properties.

To read the kratom statement, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Kratom is marketed as a plant-based supplement to treat pain, anxiety and depression but its similarities to opioids have raised concerns that it can be addictive and risky.

CDC warning links kratom to salmonella outbreak across 20 states