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News Release
OHA investigating 2 cases of salmonellosis linked to kratom - 03/08/18

March 8, 2018

Health officials urge people to stop using the herbal supplement after testing finds Salmonella bacteria in numerous product samples

State health officials are warning that kratom products could be contaminated with the Salmonella bacteria after two people in Oregon who consumed the herbal supplement fell ill.

Epidemiologists at the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division say the cases--one each in Washington and Malheur counties--are linked to a national outbreak of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:- infections that has sickened 48 people in 30 states.

The Washington County resident bought kratom at Torched Illusions and began experiencing symptoms of salmonellosis Jan. 15. The Malheur County resident purchased kratom online and became ill on Nov. 18, 2017.

The Malheur County resident was hospitalized, but the Washington County resident was not. Both individuals have since recovered from their illnesses.

According to CDC, kratom is a plant native to southeast Asia that is consumed for its stimulant effects and as an opioid substitute. It may be brewed in a tea, chewed, smoked, or ingested in capsules. It may also be known as Thang, Kakuam, Thom, Ketom and Biak.

OHA epidemiologists, along with representatives of Washington County Public Health and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, obtained kratom capsules and powders from Torched Illusions at its two locations in Beaverton and Tigard, and had the samples tested by a private laboratory. A total of 15 samples were positive for Salmonella, although the strains in the kratom did not match the national outbreak strain.

"What this tells us is that multiple strains of Salmonella--not just the strain implicated in the national outbreak--are popping up in kratom products," said Katrina Hedberg, MD, MPH, health officer and state epidemiologist at the OHA Public Health Division. "We don't yet know the ultimate source of all the contaminated kratom. Because of this, we recommend people not consume kratom in any form and throw it away."

People who believe they've gotten sick from consuming kratom should contact a health care provider, Hedberg said.

Each year, 400 to 500 cases of salmonellosis are reported in Oregon. Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps one to three days after exposure. Salmonellosis is usually diagnosed by laboratory testing of a stool sample, according to CDC. The illness usually lasts four to seven days.

Although most people recover without treatment, severe infections can occur. Infants, elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness. When severe infection occurs, Salmonella may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other body sites and can cause death.

For information about the national Salmonella outbreak linked to kratom, visit https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/kratom-02-18/. For general information about Salmonella, visit the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/.

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