CDC: Salmonella infection linked to rattlesnake pills

The CDC linked rattlesnake pills to a Salmonella Oranienburg infection in a resident of Kansas who ingested the capsules after purchasing them in Mexico, according to an agency media statement released Tuesday.

Rattlesnake pills contain dehydrated rattlesnake meat ground into a powder. The pills are marketed as treatments for many conditions, including cancer and HIV.

"The ill person reported taking rattlesnake pills in the week before getting sick," said the CDC. "Advanced laboratory testing called whole genome sequencing showed that the Salmonella that made the person sick matched the Salmonella found in rattlesnake pills from Mexico collected in an earlier, unrelated investigation."

The CDC recommended individuals considering taking rattlesnake pills speak with their healthcare provider beforehand, especially individuals deemed to be at high risk for Salmonella infection. High-risk individuals include those with weakened immune systems, pregnant women and children.

Salmonella infections result in an estimated 19,000 hospitalizations and 380 deaths annually in the United States. Symptoms typically develop 12 to 72 hours after infection and include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps.

To learn more about Salmonella, click here.

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