PORTLAND, Ore. – State health officials are urging people to stop using the herbal supplement kratom after tests found Salmonella in several samples and two people in Oregon became ill after using the product.
The two people, who live in Washington County and Malheur County, were linked to a national Salmonella outbreak that has sickened 48 people in 30 states, according to the Oregon Health Authority.
Kratom comes from the leaves of a tree native to Southeast Asia and is often used as a pain reliever, or an alternative to heroin or other opioids. It can be smoked, chewed, brewed in tea or ingested in capsules.
The Washington County resident bought kratom at Torched Illusions, a smoke shop with locations in Beaverton and Tigard, and began experiencing symptoms of Salmonella on Jan. 15, the OHA said. The Malheur County resident ordered kratom online and was hospitalized in November of 2017.
Both people have since recovered from being sick.
State epidemiologists, with the assistance of Washington County health officials and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, obtained kratom capsules and powder from Torched Illusions and tested them at a private laboratory. The tests found 15 samples that were positive for Salmonella, but the OHA said the strains did not match those in the national outbreak.
“We don't yet know the ultimate source of all the contaminated kratom,” said state epidemiologist and OHA health officer Katrina Hedberg. “Because of this, we recommend people not consume kratom in any form and throw it away.”
Salmonella symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most people recover without treatment, but severe infections can occur, and are more likely in infants, elderly people and people with weakened immune systems.
Anyone who believes they’ve gotten sick from using kratom should contact their health care provider, Hedberg said.