Walmart aromatherapy spray recalled after deadly bacteria discovered, linked to two deaths

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The aromatherapy room spray was sold at about 55 Walmart stores nationwide and online at Walmart.com from February 2021 through October 2021. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

(ABC4) – A nationwide recall has been issued for an aromatherapy spray containing deadly bacteria linked to two deaths.

The spray in question is “Better Homes & Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones,” last sold in about 55 Walmart stores between February and October 21, 2021.

Laboratory testing conducted by the Centers for Disease Control discovered a bacteria called Burkholderia pseudomallei, the same type of bacteria that sickened four people in the U.S. with an illness called Melioidosis. The Consumer Product Safety Commission and Walmart have issued a recall for the spray along with five other scents in the same product line.

“Better Homes & Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones,” last sold in about 55 Walmart stores between February and October 21, 2021. (Courtesy of the CDC)

The bacteria was first discovered on October 6 in a Georgia residence where a person was sickened by the bacteria back in July. The CDC is continuing to test the bacteria to see if its genetic fingerprint matches those found in four patients – one each in Georgia, Kansas, Texas, and Minnesota. CDC officials say two of the four patients died after being exposed to the bacteria.

Walmart has since pulled the aromatherapy sprays off the shelves. CDC officials are recommending anyone who has the sprays stop using the product immediately and dispose of it by double-bagging the item in clear zip bags and returning it to a local Walmart store in a cardboard box.

Officials are asking the public not to dispose of the item in a regular garbage can. If the spray has been used throughout the home, it’s best to disinfect those surfaces and wash linens where the spray may have landed. If you have been exposed to the spray, the CDC says it’s best to contact your local health provider to prevent Melioidosis infection.

“Our hearts go out to the families that have been impacted by this situation,” said Inger Damon, MD, MPH, director of CDC’s Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, which manages melioidosis. “We at CDC have been very concerned to see these serious related illnesses spread across time and geography. That is why our scientists have continued to work tirelessly to try to find the potential source for the melioidosis infections in these patients. We hope this work can help protect other people who may have used this spray.”

Although rare, Melioidosis is a serious infection and causes a wide range of symptoms that can be confused with other common illnesses such as the flu or a cold. Infection among people is extremely rare, officials say.

For more information on Melioidosis, click here.

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