Two Oregonians have contracted Salmonella after using the herbal supplement kratom, the Oregon Health Authority announced today. One person was hospitalized, but both are now recovering from the bacterial infection.
OHA is urging people to stop using the herb after tests found numerous Salmonella strains in various product samples.
Kratom is a southeast Asian plant with stimulating effects that has become a popular substitute for opioid use. The plant can be chewed, smoked, brewed in tea or ingested in capsules. It is not approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The Oregon Salmonella outbreaks—one in Washington County and one in Malheur County—are two of 48 that have been reported nationwide.
OHA says the tainted kratom capsules were purchased between November 2017 and January 2018. One person purchased the supplement online, and the other at Beaverton's Torched Illusions, a tobacco store that offers "incense, hookahs, water pipes and detox products, plus skateboards and apparel."
Fifteen samples of kratom powder and capsules from Torched Illusions' Tigard and Beaverton locations tested positive for Salmonella. However, the strains found did not match the one responsible for the national outbreak.
"What this tells us is that multiple strains of Salmonella—not just the strain implicated in the national outbreak—are popping up in kratom products," says Katrina Hedberg, health officer and state epidemiologist at the OHA Public Health Division. "We don't yet know the ultimate source of all the contaminated kratom. Because of this, we recommend people not consume kratom in any form and throw it away."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also recommending people avoid kratom in any form, noting that 45% of all cases have resulted in hospitalization. As of yet, no deaths have yet been reported.