Kratom suspected in San Diego salmonella case


Kratom pills (By Psychonaught (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons)

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SAN DIEGO — A San Diego County resident is one of three people in California sickened in a multi-state outbreak of salmonella infections likely linked to the herbal supplement kratom, county health officials announced Friday.

The 44-year-old became ill in January, was not hospitalized and has fully recovered from the bacterial infection.

Forty cases of salmonellosis in 27 states recently have been caused by a less common type of salmonella bacteria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which identified kratom as a likely source of the outbreak. None of those patients have died, but 14 have been hospitalized, according to the CDC.

The CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommend that people avoid consuming kratom, a stimulant in the coffee family that is used as an opioid substitute.

Last week, the FDA issued a voluntary recall and destruction of several kratom products, though no particular brand or supplier of products have been identified as manufacturing tainted kratom.

The herb is legal in most of California and the U.S., though there’s been a ban on its import since 2014. The city of San Diego in 2016 outlawed possession of mitragynine and hydroxyl-mitragynine, which are the active components in kratom, according to the county.

Ten county residents since 2014 have died for reasons associated with mitragynine, the county Medical Examiner’s office has determined. Nine of those people had other drugs or alcohol in their system. One was associated with mitragynine alone.

There were 575 salmonellosis cases reported in San Diego in 2017, though officials say the actual number is likely higher because many people do not seek treatment for the illness.

It is most commonly caused by eating undercooked poultry or eggs, unpasteurized dairy products, or food or water contaminated with the bacteria.

Symptoms of the disease include diarrhea, fever, vomiting, and abdominal cramps that start 12 to 72 hours after infection. Most people with salmonellosis are sick for four to seven days and then recover without treatment.

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