Deadly bacteria found in popular aromatherapy spray sold at Walmart, CDC warns

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Walmart is recalling a popular aromatherapy spray after it was found to contain a rare — but deadly — bacteria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday.

Bottles of Better Homes & Gardens’ Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones should be returned immediately, the public health agency said, after lab tests revealed Burkholderia pseudomallei bacteria, which causes melioidosis.

CDC officials said the contaminated sprays were sold at about 55 Walmart stores and on the retailer’s website between February and October 21, 2021.

The spray in question was discovered in the home of a Georgia woman who was diagnosed with the disease in July before dying, according to the CDC. The same bacteria sickened at least three others in Kansas, Texas and Minnesota earlier this year. Two people died, including the woman from Georgia.

What’s melioidosis? CDC raises alarm as handful of cases found in 3 states — one fatal

“Our hearts go out to the families that have been impacted by this situation,” Inger Damon, director of CDC’s Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, said in a statement. “We at CDC have been very concerned to see these serious related illness 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,” Damon said.

If you have the aromatherapy spray in your home, the CDC recommends you to:

  • Stop use immediately. Users should also refrain from throwing the bottle in the trash.

  • Double-bag the spray bottle, put it in a cardboard box and return it to a Walmart store.

  • Wash all sheets and linens that the product was sprayed on, including with bleach “if desired.”

  • Wipe and disinfect all countertops and surfaces where the product may have been sprayed.

  • Limit handling the spray and thoroughly wash your hands after handling the bottle.

The agency said it’s doing additional testing to see if “the genetic fingerprint of the bacteria in the (contaminated) bottle” matches the bacteria that sickened four people this year.

Melioidosis causes a range of symptoms — including fever, headache and joint pain — and is often confused with other illness, according to the CDC. Consumers are urged to seek medical care if they used the room spray in the last 21 and have developed symptoms.

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