Salmonella outbreak in 20 states linked to kratom consumption

Mary Esch  AP

Mary Esch AP

Native to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea, kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa, is a plant that is typically crushed and made into a tea as a means to treat pain; it can also be chewed, smoked, or ingested in capsules. Nationwide, there were 1,120 cases in 48 states. "Kratom is also known as Thang, Kakuam, Thom, Ketom, and Biak", the CDC says.

California had the most elevated number of salmonella cases (three).

The CDC is now conducting an investigation into the outbreak, which has hit people in California, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New York, and other states. Symptoms of a salmonella infection include fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea.

Salmonella has always been associated with eating undercooked chicken. Individual to-individual transmission can happen if a uninfected individual comes into coordinate contact with someone else.

The agency reported 28 people have been infected with salmonella in 20 states, and 11 of them have been hospitalized.

The infections started in October, and samples of salmonella from the victims revealed that the germs were closely related in terms of genetics.

The most recent victim became sick on January 30. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had previously warned not to use the drug after it was tied to 36 deaths. It is not an FDA-approved drug. There is no evidence to indicate that kratom is safe or effective for any medical use. Kratom is not a synthetic substance. A few researchers have tested the FDA's portrayal of kratom as excessively wide. All agree that more research is needed.

"Patients addicted to opioids are using kratom without dependable instructions for use and more importantly, without consultation with a licensed health care provider about the product's dangers, potential side effects or interactions with other drugs", FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a previous statement in November. The American Kratom Association consumer group called the FDA's statement an "unprecedented abuse of science to create a new computer program that is clearly garbage in, garbage out avoiding the rules of the Controlled Substances Act and making unproven claims that have been proven to be untrue".

US skiers make history at Olympics with cross-country gold
Hard Brexiteers are playing with fire