The Region

Los Angeles County health officials warned the public against using so-called "rattlesnake capsules," saying four people were hospitalized recently after using the popular Latino folk remedy. The capsules are often used for treating a variety of medical ailments ranging from acne and arthritis to cancer, said Susan Carr of the county health department's acute communicable disease control division. In recent months, four Latino residents have been hospitalized with severe bacterial infections after using the capsules. Subsequent testing indicated the pills were contaminated with salmonella, Carr said. The capsules are made of dried ground rattlesnake meat. Symptoms of salmonella poisoning include fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain and vomiting.

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