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Walmart recalls aromatherapy spray due to rare, dangerous bacteria

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Posted at 12:09 PM, Oct 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-22 15:17:01-04

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart is recalling bottles of an aromatherapy room spray due to the possible presence of a rare and dangerous type of bacteria that’s been linked to two deaths.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced Friday that the company is recalled about 3,900 bottles of “Better Homes and Gardens-branded- Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones” in six different scents.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says laboratory tests identified the bacteria Burkholderia pseudomallei in one of the affected bottles. The bacteria is known to cause melioidosis.

The spray was found in the home of a Georgia resident who became ill with melioidosis in late July, according to the CDC.

The CDC has been investigating a cluster of four cases of melioidosis in the country. Officials say four cases have been reported in Kansas, Minnesota, Texas, and Georgia. Two of those people died and one of them was a child.

The CDC says it’s continuing testing to see if the genetic fingerprint of the bacteria in the bottle from Georgia matches those of the bacteria identified in the four patients.

The aromatherapy room spray was sold at about 55 Walmart stores nationwide and online at Walmart.com from Feb. 2021 through Oct. 2021 for about $4.

“Better Homes and Gardens Aromatherapy,” is printed on the label on the front of the 5-ounce glass bottle. The aromatherapy was sold with a pump spray nozzle in the following scents and product numbers:

  • 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

Walmart has stopped the sale of the product, which was made in India.

Consumers who have purchased one of these products are urged to do the following:

  • Stop using this product immediately. Do not open the bottle. Do not attempt to throw away or dispose of the bottle.
  • Double bag the bottle in clean, clear zip-top resealable 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 been exposed to the spray with an undiluted disinfectant cleaner.
  • Minimize handling of the product and wash hands thoroughly after handling the bottle or linens. Wash hands thoroughly after removing gloves.
  • If you have used the product within the last 21 days and experience fever or other symptoms, seek medical care and tell your doctor about the product exposure. Your doctor may recommend that you get antibiotics (post-exposure prophylaxis) to prevent infection.

The CDC says melioidosis is a rare but serious disease in the U.S., with about 12 cases reported annually. It causes a wide range of symptoms that can be confused with other common illnesses, like flu or a cold. Person-to-person spread is extremely rare.