Federal and Kansas state health officials have linked one person’s Salmonella infection to taking rattlesnake pills from Mexico and are advising that the public talk to their doctor if they are considering taking rattlesnake pills, particularly if you in a group more likely to get a severe Salmonella infection like people with weakened immune systems, including people who are receiving chemotherapy or have HIV; pregnant women; children younger than 5 years; and older adults.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicate that one person in Kansas became sick with Salmonella Oranienburg after taking the rattlesnake pills the week before getting sick. Advanced laboratory testing called whole genome sequencing showed that the Salmonella that made the person sick matched the Salmonella found in rattlesnake pills from Mexico collected in an earlier, unrelated investigation.

Rattlesnake pills are often marketed as remedies for various conditions, such as cancer and HIV infection. These pills contain dehydrated rattlesnake meat ground into a powder and put into pill form.

Reptiles and their meat can carry Salmonella and make people sick. Past outbreak investigations have identified rattlesnake pills as a source of human Salmonella infections.



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