A mysterious supplement with a viral following has been linked to salmonella

Kratom is an unregulated herbal supplement promoted as an alternative pain remedy

"We don't know exactly which brand or which products are contaminated", says Laura Gieraltowski, PhD., head of the CDC's Foodborne Outbreak Team.

Gottlieb said there are no FDA approved therapeutic uses of kratom and the agency has evidence that it poses "significant safety issues".

The herbal drug kratom is under fire for the second time this month.

Kratom is a natural plant native to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea.

A popular herbal supplement that some people use in lieu of powerful opioid drugs has been linked to an outbreak of salmonella, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday.

"Because no common source of Salmonella-contaminated kratom has been identified, CDC is recommending against consuming any kratom", the agency said.

As of February 16, there have been 20 states to report that 28 people are infected with the outbreak Salmonella strain, 11 people have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported. That makes definitively labeling kratom as the cause of death impossible. In October 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was poised to criminalize use of the plant, but it backed away from that position after facing Congressional opposition and a social media storm. Earlier this month, Food and Drug Administrator Scott Gottlieb warned consumers about kratom, saying an FDA analysis shows compounds in the plant act like prescription-strength opioids.

Kratom is marketed as a plant-based supplement to treat pain, anxiety and depression but its similarities to opioids have raised concerns that it can be addictive and unsafe.

Kratom items are inexactly managed by the FDA.

Kratom enthusiasts say it's enjoyable to use recreationally, but say it is also useful for treating withdrawal from opioid use and can be used to treat pain. Across the U.S., several reports of deaths and addiction led the Drug Enforcement Administration to place kratom on its list of "drugs and chemicals of concern".

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