Herbal drug kratom is linked to salmonella illnesses, CDC says

The herbal drug kratom is under fire for the second time this month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Tuesday that the substance is linked to an outbreak of salmonella.

In a statement, the CDC said 28 people in 20 states got sick after ingesting kratom, and 11 people were sick enough to be hospitalized.

“At this time, CDC recommends that people not consume kratom in any form. The investigation indicates that kratom products could be contaminated with salmonella and could make people sick,” the statement reads.

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On Feb. 6, the Federal Drug Administration warned the herb acts like an opioid drug and advised people to stay away from it.

In the meantime, the Drug Enforcement Administration is looking at restriction on the sales of kratom, which is available online.

According to MedicalExpress, the herb is grown in the Southeast Asian countries of Thailand, Malaia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, and has been sold as a dietary supplement to help manage pain and boost energy.

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The CDC said it is not clear how salmonella could have gotten into supplies of kratom, but it's been linked to supplements before and it caused an outbreak in food powder in 2016.

“In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the months before they became ill. Eight (73 percent) of 11 people interviewed reported consuming kratom in pills, powder or tea,” the CDC said.