The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and Tulsa Health Department (THD) have joined public health officials in other states and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate a nationwide outbreak of Salmonella associated with kratom. As of March 20, a total of 91 people in 36 states are linked to this outbreak, including four cases in Oklahoma. Thirty-one people nationwide have been hospitalized.

Oklahoma/ National Atlas of the United States
Oklahoma/ National Atlas of the United States

According to CDC, kratom is a plant native to Southeast Asia that is consumed for its stimulant effects and as an opioid substitute. It may be brewed in a tea, chewed, smoked, or ingested in capsules. It may also be known as Thang, Kakuam, Thom, Ketom and Biak.

THD epidemiologists obtained kratom powder from a store where an Oklahoma Salmonella case reported making a purchase prior to their illness onset.  Testing by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry and OSDH Public Health Laboratories confirmed the presence of outbreak-associated strains of Salmonella in both samples of Club 13 brand Maeng Da Red kratom.

At this time, public health officials recommend that people not consume kratom in any form because it could be contaminated with Salmonella.  Although no common brands or suppliers have been identified at this time, Salmonella has been isolated from several kratom brands and varieties; a list of these products can be found on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website.

Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Individuals who have recently used or consumed kratom and who have experienced any of these symptoms within 12 to 72 hours should contact their health care provider.