At least 1 person died after inhaling an aromatherapy room spray from Walmart that contained a rare, deadly bacteria



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Walmart recalled “Better Homes & Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones” and related products on Thursday, October 21, 2021. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • A bottle of Better Homes & Gardens room spray was found to contain a rare bacteria that causes melioidosis.
  • Walmart recalled the spray after a contaminated bottle was found in the home of someone who died of the disease this summer.
  • Three others have contracted melioidosis in the US this year, but only one case has been linked to the spray.

An aromatherapy spray sold at more than 50 Walmart stores has been recalled after one bottle was found to contain a deadly bacteria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

The spray, a lavender and chamomile essential oil blend by Better Homes & Gardens, was recently found in the home of a Georgia resident who died after falling ill with a bacterial disease called melioidosis in late July.

The CDC identified the bacteria Burkholderia pseudomallei, which is known to cause melioidosis, in the spray this week. Melioidosis is rare in the US, with about 12 cases reported a year. It’s more common in Southeast Asia and northern Australia, as well as India, where the spray is made.

The bacterial disease causes a wide range of symptoms – fever, cough, chest pain, muscle aches, and more – that can be confused with other common illnesses, like the flu, a cold, or COVID-19. Person-to-person spread is extremely rare.

Three additional cases of melioidosis were reported earlier this year: a fatal case in Kansas in March, according to US News; then two patients were hospitalized and recovered in Minnesota and Texas this May, per the Minnesota Health Department. The CDC is looking into whether those individuals used the same product.

Walmart pulled remaining bottles of the lavender and chamomile spray from stores and its website on Thursday, along with five other scents in the same product line. The CDC is still investigating whether related products may pose a risk.

The CDC recommends that anyone who has this aromatherapy spray in their home:

  • Stop using this product immediately. Do not open the bottle. Do not throw away or dispose of the bottle in the regular trash.
  • Double bag the bottle in clean, clear zip-top bags and place in a small cardboard box. Return the bagged and boxed product to a Walmart store.
  • Wash sheets or linens that the product may have been sprayed on using normal laundry detergent and dry completely in a hot dryer; bleach can be used if desired.
  • Wipe down counters and surfaces that might have the spray on them with undiluted Pine-Sol or similar disinfectant.
  • Limit how much you handle the spray bottle and wash hands thoroughly after touching the bottle or linens. If you used gloves, wash hands afterward.

If you have used the product within the past 21 days and have fever or other melioidosis symptoms, the CDC recommends you seek medical care. If you do not have symptoms but were exposed to the product in the last 7 days, your doctor may recommend that you get antibiotics to prevent a possible infection.

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