Kratom Salmonella Outbreak and Litigation - Multistate (2018)


Salmonella lawyers at Marler Clark represented several of the victims in this outbreak, achieving settlements covering medical expenses, wage loss, and pain and suffering. At this time, three of these cases have been successfully settled.

In February 2018, the CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced an investigation of a multistate outbreak of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:- infections.

As of February 16, 2018, 28 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:- had been reported from 20 states. A list of the states and the number of cases in each can be found on the CaseCount Map page. WGS performed on isolates from ill people were closely relatedly genetically. This means that people in this outbreak are more likely to share a common source of infection.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 13, 2017 to January 30, 2018. Ill people ranged in age from 6 to 67 years, with a median age of 41. Sixteen people were male. Eleven hospitalizations were reported. No deaths were reported.

This outbreak can be illustrated with a chart showing the number of people who became ill each day. This chart is called an epidemic curve, or epi curve. As of February 2018, illnesses that occurred after January 23, 2018, might have not yet been reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 2 to 4 weeks.

Epidemiologic evidence indicated that kratom was a likely source of this multistate outbreak. Kratom is a plant consumed for its stimulant effects and as an opioid substitute. Kratom is also known as Thang, Kakuam, Thom, Ketom, and Biak.

In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the months before they became ill. Eight (73%) of 11 people interviewed reported consuming kratom in pills, powder, or tea. No common brands or suppliers of kratom had been identified at this time.

During this investigation, CDC recommended that people not consume kratom in any form. The investigation indicated that kratom products could be contaminated with Salmonella and could make people sick.

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