A flare-up of 28 salmonella infections in 20 states has been connected to kratom items, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an announcement Tuesday. A member of the coffee family, kratom grows natively in Southeast Asia where its leaves are well-known for their psychoactive effects.
"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.
Missouri has no reported cases.
Despite its perceived health benefits, the consumption of kratom has led to a Salmonella outbreak that has affected at least 28 people-ages 6 to 67-in 20 states in the U.S. Eleven of those people have been hospitalized. It issued a public health advisory in November about health risks of the herbal supplement. The vast majority contaminated with salmonella create indications - including loose bowels, fever and stomach spasms - inside 12 to 72 hours of presentation to the microscopic organisms.
Kratom is traditionally crushed and made into team but is also chewed, smoked or taken in capsule form.
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Proponents of the substance say it can be used to treat chronic pain, anxiety and opioid withdrawal symptoms. Before it can be legally marketed for therapeutic uses in the USA, kratom's risks and benefits must be evaluated as part of the regulatory process for drugs established by Congress. Earlier this month, the agency declared that kratom acts like an opioid in the human brain. There are safe and effective, FDA-approved medical therapies available for the treatment of opioid addiction.
When intended for use as or in a dietary supplement, the FDA considers kratom to be a new dietary ingredient.
"Kratom is not a drug", the American Kratom Association says on its website. "If they could come up with the same type of testing and policies like they have for marijuana here that fit kratom use, I think it would be a great move in the right direction of keeping it legal".
Last week, the FDA released findings showing kratom acts like an opioid and can be risky and addictive.