State officials are warning Minnesotans not to consume a plant called kratom in any form because it may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.
The Minnesota Departments of Health (MDH) and Agriculture (MDA), along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and several other states are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to consumption of kratom. Kratom is a plant native to Southeast Asia that is used for its stimulant effects and as an opioid substitute. Kratom may also be known as Thang, Kakuam, Thom, Ketom, or Biak, and may be consumed as pills, powder, or used to make tea.
Multiple strains of Salmonella are associated with illnesses in this outbreak. Overall, 87 cases have been identified from 35 states, including two cases from Minnesota. The Minnesota cases are both adults who became ill in January 2018. One of the people was hospitalized and both have recovered. The investigation is ongoing and more cases may be detected.
Symptoms of Salmonella infection include diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever. Symptoms usually begin within 12 to 96 hours after exposure, but they can begin up to two weeks after exposure. Infections usually clear in five to seven days, but approximately 28 percent of laboratory-confirmed cases require hospitalization. More serious invasive infections (for example, blood stream infections, meningitis, osteomyelitis) occasionally occur. Many Salmonella infections in otherwise healthy people do not require medical treatment. For those who seek health care, most do not require antibiotics. However, antibiotic treatment may be warranted in some cases. If you’ve handled these products, become ill and are concerned about your health, please consult your health care provider.
Interviews with cases indicated that kratom products are the likely source of this outbreak. Both Minnesota cases reported consuming kratom powder prior to becoming ill. Kratom products collected in other states have tested positive for Salmonella, including three strains associated with the outbreak.
No single common brand or supplier of kratom products has been identified. Cases reported a number of different brands of kratom products purchased from various websites and retail locations. MDH and CDC recommend that people not consume kratom in any form because it could be contaminated with Salmonella and could make people sick. For more information see https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/kratom-02-18/index.html.
According to the FDA, there are no FDA-approved uses for kratom and consumers are advised not to consume kratom because of concerns about the safety of kratom and kratom-containing products.
Approximately 700-975 Salmonella infections are reported each year in Minnesota. More information on Salmonella and how to prevent it can be found on the MDH website at http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/salmonellosis/index.html.