The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that a tropical disease that killed two people in the United States was caused by an aromatherapy spray. Four people from Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota, and Texas were sickened by the spray, and two of them, including a child, died.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that the infected people were sickened with the bacteria Burkholderia pseudomallei which causes melioidosis. The infection was traced to Better Homes and Gardens-branded-Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones in six different scents, sold by Walmart.
Costing $4 at Walmart, the retailer has sold 3,900 bottles of the aromatherapy spray this year, and the CPSC has ordered all of them recalled. Investigators found the bacteria pseudomallei in one of the spray bottles in the home of one of the patients. It was ultimately found that the strain in the bottle is the same in the four patients and that they all had different scents of the same Better Homes and Gardens sprays.
The affected aromatherapy sprays were manufactured in India and imported into the United States. The CDC said the melioidosis illness transmitted from the recalled Better Homes and Gardens sprays is “rare and dangerous” with an incidence rate of about 12 annually in the US. The disease is common in India, Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Australia, and some parts of Asia.
The products recalled are:
- 84140411420 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lavender & Chamomile
- 84140411421 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lemon and Mandarin
- 84140411422 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lavender
- 84140411423 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Peppermint
- 84140411424 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lime & Eucalyptus
- 84140411425 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Sandalwood and Vanilla
The CDC warned everyone who had purchased the affected products to return them to Walmart for a full refund. Consumers are warned to not open or use the recalled sprays. They should be zipped in resealable bags while wearing gloves. Walmart is also offering a $20 gift card to consumers who return the products. Any surface or fabric that has been sprayed with the product should be thoroughly washed to minimize infection risks.
The CDC said melioidosis is treatable if diagnosed early and treated correctly. Some of its symptoms include flu or cold and can be confused with other common illnesses.