A coast-to-coast outbreak of Salmonella infections have been linked to kratom products, spurring a warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The federal agency had received confirmation of 28 people across 20 states with infections from Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:- as of Feb. 16, according to the outbreak notice posted today. Eleven of the sick people had such severe symptoms that they had to be admitted to hospitals.

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

The most recent victim became sick on Jan. 30. However, the lag time between symptom onset and confirmed reports reaching the CDC is usually about three to four weeks. People who became ill after Jan. 23 probably have not yet been confirmed for the CDC.

Confirmed victims range in age from 6 to 67 years old.

“Kratom is a plant native to southeast Asia that is consumed for its stimulant effects and as an opioid substitute,” according to the CDC notice.

“It is typically brewed in a tea, chewed, smoked, or ingested in capsules. Kratom may also be known as Thang, Kakuam, Thom, Ketom, and Biak.”

State and federal officials are investigating the outbreak but have not yet identified specific kratom brands or suppliers. Victims report consuming the plant substance in pills, powder and tea forms.

Of the victims interviewed as of today, 73 percent reported consuming kratom

products in the days before becoming sick, the CDC reported.

“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.

“People should talk to their health care provider before taking any supplement, especially if they are in a group more likely to get a severe Salmonella infection. These groups include people with weakened immune systems, including people who are receiving chemotherapy or have HIV, pregnant women, children younger than 5 years, and older adults.”

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