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Kratom outbreak picks up pace as it spreads; warnings renewed

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The confirmed case count in a nationwide Salmonella outbreak traced to kratom products has more than doubled in less than a month, infecting people in 35 states and resulting in the hospitalization of 39 percent of the victims.

Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration continue to advise the public to avoid consuming any products containing kratom until further notice because it could be contaminated with Salmonella.

Kratom is a plant consumed for its stimulant effects and as an opioid substitute. It is also known as Thang, Kakuam, Thom, Ketom, and Biak.

The FDA’s most recent outbreak investigation update reports that 25 products have been tested and reported positive for Salmonella. Some are under recall.

“Three match one or more of the outbreak strains and an additional 22 have tested positive for Salmonella, and either do not match or are pending further characterization,” the FDA reported.

“During interviews conducted by state and local health officials, ill people were asked about the foods they ate and other exposures before they became ill. As of March 14, 40 of 55 ill people — 73 percent — specifically asked about kratom reported consuming kratom before getting sick.”

The laboratory confirmed illnesses started on dates ranging from Jan. 21, 2017, to Feb. 24 this year, with increasing frequency beginning in October 2017 and escalating even more quickly since mid-January this year.

Ill people range in age from 6 to 67 years according to the CDC’s most recent update, which posted March 23. Of 69 people with available information, 27 of them — or 39 percent — have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

As of March 14, there were 87 people with confirmed Salmonella infections across 35 states, up from 40 people across 25 states in the CDC’s previous outbreak update.

This illustration shows actual kratom capsules with a faux prescription bottle. Photo illustration

“Illnesses that occurred after Feb. 20 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,” according tot the CDC.

“No common brands or suppliers of kratom products have been identified at this time. Because no common source of Salmonella-contaminated kratom has been identified, CDC is recommending against consuming any kratom.”

State investigators in California, Oregon and Utah have confirmed outbreak strains of Salmonella in leftover portions of kratom products collected from sick people’s homes as well as unopened products collected from retailers.

Outbreak victims who reported consuming kratom said they had purchased it from retail locations in several states and from various online retailers.

According to the FDA, products and associated companies that had tested positive for Salmonella as of March 23 are:

Product Retailer Known or Labeled Distributor
Molecule White Vein Torched Illusions, Beaverton, OR Pure Distribution LLC
Molecule Green Maeng Da Torched Illusions, Tigard, OR Pure Distribution LLC
Raw Form Organics Maeng Da Emerald Torched Illusions, Tigard, OR Triangle Pharmanaturals
Raw Form Organics Maeng Da Ivory Torched Illusions, Tigard, OR Triangle Pharmanaturals
Red Maeng Da (RMD 1-kg) Kratoma (buy-kratom.us) Kratoma
S.K. Herbalist Red Tea MD Soap Korner (soapkorner.com) Soap Korner
Red Vein Borneo Phytoextractum (phytoextraxtum.com) PDX Aromatics
Red Borneo Kraken Kratom (krakenkratom.com) PDX Aromatics
Red Dragon (Red Vein) Kraken Kratom (krakenkratom.com) PDX Aromatics
White Maeng Da Kraken Kratom (krakenkratom.com) PDX Aromatics
NXT GEN Botanicals Maeng Da Smoke Station, Salt Lake City, UT NGB Corp, West Jordan, UT
Eclipse Premium Maeng Da Smoke Station, Salt Lake City, UT Tamarack, Cheyenne, WY
Dragon Bali Fastrac, Salt Lake City, UT Not stated
Green Bali bulk powder Torched Illusions, Tigard, OR Unlabeled
Green Sumatra bulk powder Torched Illusions, Tigard, OR Unlabeled
Green Malaysian bulk powder Torched Illusions, Tigard, OR Unlabeled
White Maeng Da bulk powder Torched Illusions, Tigard, OR Unlabeled
White Borneo bulk powder Torched Illusions, Tigard, OR Unlabeled
White Sumatra bulk powder Torched Illusions, Tigard, OR

Unlabeled

 

Some products had duplicate samples.

Advice to consumers
Anyone who has taken any products containing kratom and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctors about the possible exposure to the bacteria.

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection, called salmonellosis, typically start 6 to 72 hours after exposure to Salmonella bacteria. However, in some people it takes two weeks for symptoms to develop.

Symptoms include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms usually last for four to seven days. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection, but infants, children, seniors and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness.

It is possible for some people to be infected with the bacteria and not get sick or show any symptoms, but they are still be able to spread the infection to others.

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