2 Oregonians fall ill after consuming kratom; samples test positive for salmonella

Both Oregon cases are linked to a national outbreak of Salmonella that has sickened 48 people in 30 states, the Oregon Health Authority said. (CDC map)

SALEM, Ore. - Oregon health officials urge people to stop using kratom after two people who consumed the product fell ill with salmonellosis - and tests found Salmonella bacteria in numerous samples.

One person fell ill in Washington County in northwest Oregon. The other case is in Malheur County, on the Idaho border.

Both cases are linked to a national outbreak of Salmonella that has sickened 48 people in 30 states.

"The Washington County resident bought kratom at Torched Illusions and began experiencing symptoms of salmonellosis Jan. 15. The Malheur County resident purchased kratom online and became ill on Nov. 18, 2017," the Oregon Health Authority said in a statement. "The Malheur County resident was hospitalized, but the Washington County resident was not. Both individuals have since recovered from their illnesses."

State scientists obtained samples of capsules and powders from Torched Illusions in Washington County, the state said. Of those samples, 15 tested positive for Salmonella. However, the strains did not match the national outbreak strain, the state said.

"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," said Katrina Hedberg, MD, MPH, 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."

People who believe they've gotten sick from consuming kratom should contact a health care provider, Hedberg said.

"Kratom is a plant native to southeast Asia that is consumed for its stimulant effects and as an opioid substitute," the state said, citing the Centers for Disease Control. "It may be brewed in a tea, chewed, smoked, or ingested in capsules. It may also be known as Thang, Kakuam, Thom, Ketom and Biak."

About Salmonella

People infected with Salmonella suffer diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps beginning one to three days after exposure, the state said. Illness typically lasts 4 to 7 days.

"Although most people recover without treatment, severe infections can occur," the state said. "Infants, elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness. When severe infection occurs, Salmonella may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other body sites and can cause death."

MORE: Salmonella outbreak linked to kratom | General information about Salmonella

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