Fatal Melioidosis Outbreak Linked to Walmart Distributed Aromatherapy Spray

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified a harmful melioidosis bacteria in an aromatherapy spray, “Better Homes & Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones.”

Melioidosis sickened four people in the U.S. earlier this year and was found October 6 in the home of a Georgia resident who became sick with melioidosis, a rare but serious disease cause by the bacteria, in July. 

The contaminated aromatherapy spray was sold at about 55 Walmart stores and on Walmart’s website between February and October 21, 2021, before being pulled from distribution.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPC) and Walmart are issuing a recall for the lavender and chamomile room spray and five other scents in the same product line. Investigation continues into whether other related scents and brands are also a risk.

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.
  • Wipe down counters and surfaces that might have the spray on them with 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, seek medical care and tell your doctor you were exposed to the spray. 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 infection.

For more information about the investigation, please visit the Health Alert Network webpage

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