Forty-seven more individuals have become ill with salmonella linked to products containing the Southeast Asian plant kratom, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.
This brings the total number of illnesses to 87 people across 35 states since reports of illness began in October.
Kratom is sold as a dietary supplement in the form of pills, powders, capsules and tea made of ground-up leaves from the plant. A stimulant, it is consumed for the treatment of pain and as an opioid substitute in an effort to reduce symptoms of withdrawal.
Symptoms of salmonella can begin 12 to 72 hours after a person is infected and include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramping. This can last about four to seven days, and most individuals recover without treatment. However, those who develop severe diarrhea may need to be hospitalized. Those who are very young, who are very old or who have compromised immune systems are most at risk for complications and severe cases of illness.
Symptoms in the most recent reported case in this outbreak began February 24. Twenty-seven of those reporting illness have been hospitalized. Those who are ill range from 6 to 67 years old.
Federal health investigators have interviewed 55 of the patients, and 40 reported consumption of kratom pills, tea or powder before the start of their symptoms.
“Despite the information collected to date about where ill people purchased kratom, a single common brand or supplier of kratom has not been linked to the outbreak,” the CDC said.
For this reason, the agency is continuing to recommend against consuming any brand or form of kratom while health officials continue to investigate, including identifying where patients purchased kratom and testing samples of the supplement.
Kratom is also known as Thang, Kakuam, Thom, Ketom and Biak, according to the CDC.