In 2017, the state of Washington had 23 cases of Salmonella associated with the outbreak. Eleven people have been hospitalized, and no one has died. The American Kratom Association, which promotes access to the herb, is launching an online campaign this week, using the slogan #IamKratom, to increase support.
The CDC, which urges consumers to not use kratom in any form because of the possibility of salmonella contamination, said the infections started in October and have affected 20 states. "The investigation indicates that kratom products could be contaminated with Salmonella and could make people sick", CDC stated in the announcement. Seventy-three percent of people with the illness reported consuming kratom in pills, powder, or tea, according to CDC.
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.
The popular botanical drug kratom is already under fire from US health officials as an addictive opioid, and now new reports are linking its use with salmonella poisoning. In 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration tried to classify kratom in the same category as heroin but backed off after an intense public backlash. "Naturally occurring Kratom is a safe herbal supplement that's more akin to tea and coffee than any other substances".
Due to the Salmonella bacteria that causes the foodborne illness salmonellosis, those infected develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps.
The CDC has been unable to trace the recent salmonella outbreak to any particular brands or distributors, and has issued a broad advisory notice against the use of the supplement. But genetic testing links the cases that have been reported.
In health official conducted interviews, ill individuals were asked about the foods they ate and other exposures before they became ill.
"At this time, CDC recommends that people not consume kratom in any form".