A mysterious supplement with a viral following has been linked to salmonella

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We normally think of Salmonella as affecting food, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that it's also being found in kratom, a plant that mimics the effects of opioids.

A plant grown in parts of Asia, kratom has been marketed as a treatment for pain, anxiety, and depression. Eight of 11 sick people interviewed had consumed kratom, the announcement says, leading the CDC to believe that supplies of the supplement may have been contaminated.

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Cases have been reported in California, Oregon, Utah and Arizona, the agency reported Tuesday, but no one has yet fallen ill in Nevada. However, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) does identify kratom by a plethora of other names: Mitragyna speciosa, mitragynine extract, biak-biak, cratom, gratom, ithang, kakuam, katawn, kedemba, ketum, krathom, krton, mambog, madat, Maeng da leaf, nauclea, Nauclea speciosa, or thang. The vast majority contaminated with salmonella create indications - including loose bowels, fever and stomach spasms - inside 12 to 72 hours of presentation to the microscopic organisms. Products made up of kratom plants are sold in the United States in the form of capsules, energy drinks, pills and powders. Earlier this month, the agency declared that kratom acts like an opioid in the human brain.

Additionally, the FDA today announced the voluntary destruction and recall of a large volume of kratom-containing dietary supplements.

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The FDA recently completed a scientific analysis of kratom which showed that the plant contains compounds similar in structure to controlled opioid analgesics.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner of the FDA stated that, "Kratom should not be used to treat medical conditions, nor should it be used as an alternative to prescription opioid". It also said 11 cases involve hospitalizations, and no related deaths reported.

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"I want to be clear on one fact: there are now no FDA-approved therapeutic uses of kratom", Gottlieb said. The data adds to the FDA's evidence supporting the safety concerns and abuse potential of kratom, Gottlieb said.