Kratom sold in Oregon tests positive for salmonella; two people report sickness

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PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon Health Authority is asking the public to stop using kratom after tests found salmonella bacteria in several product samples.

Two people in Oregon who consumed kratom have fallen ill. One case was reported in Washington County and the other was reported in Malheur county.

Health officials say the cases are linked to a national outbreak of salmonella that has make 48 people in 30 states sick.

Investigators say the Washington County resident bought kratom at Torched Illusions and began experiencing symptoms of salmonellosis on Jan. 15.

The Malheur County resident purchased kratom online and became sick on Nov. 18, 2017.

Oregon Health Authority says the Malheur County resident was hospitalized, but the Washington County resident was not. Both people have since recovered from their illnesses.

Kratom is a plant native to southeast Asia that people consume as an opioid substitute.

Oregon Health Authority epidemiologists tested kratom capsules and powders from Torched Illusions at its two locations in Beaverton and Tigard. A total of 15 samples tested positive for salmonella, but the strains in the kratom did not match the national outbreak strain.

"What this tells us is that multiple strains of Salmonella - not just the strain implicated in the national outbreak - are popping up in kratom products," said Katrina Hedberg, MD, MPH, health officer and state epidemiologist at the OHA Public Health Division. "We don't yet know the ultimate source of all the contaminated kratom. Because of this, we recommend people not consume kratom in any form and throw it away."

The shop's owner tells KATU News he's stopped selling kratom, but questions the validity of the state's testing results since he hasn't been able to view them. He adds he's sending some of his kratom inventory in to an independent testing lab.

Anyone who believes he or she became sick from consuming kratom should contact a health care provider.

NVS Glassworks says it's been selling kratom for about six moths. Owner Josh Bergman says sales of the herbal supplement have helped boost his business after he was no longer allowed to sell any products in his smoke shop to people under the age of 21.

Bergman spent much of his Thursday contacting distributors to ensure the kratom he was selling wasn't contaminated.

"We're fully planning on making sure all our products test on the shelves for the next two weeks," Bergman said. "We're reaching out to a public laboratory here in Oregon and if there is anything with salmonella it will be off our shelves."

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