OKLAHOMA CITY – Health officials across the state are investigating a nationwide outbreak of salmonella.
As of March 20, officials say 91 people in 36 states were linked to the salmonella outbreak, including four cases in Oklahoma. In all, 31 people had to be hospitalized.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Tulsa Health Department say the outbreak of salmonella is believed to be associated with kratom.
Kratom is a plant native to Southeast Asia that is consumed for its stimulant effects and as an opioid substitute. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it is consumed through tea, chewed, smoked or ingested in capsules. It is also known as Thang, Kakuam, Thom, Ketom and Biak.
Tulsa health officials were able to obtain kratom powder from a store where an Oklahoma salmonella victim reported making a purchase before becoming ill.
Testing by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry and Oklahoma State Department of Health Public Health Laboratories confirmed the presence of salmonella in both samples of “Club 13 Maeng Da Red kratom.”
Public health officials recommend that people avoid kratom in any form because it could be contaminated. Although no common brands or suppliers have been identified at this time, salmonella has been found in several brands and varieties.
Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Individuals who have recently used or consumed kratom and experience these symptoms within 12 to 72 hours should contact their doctor.