The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed an aromatherapy room spray recently recalled by retail giant Walmart caused bacterial infections in four people earlier this year.
Walmart on Friday voluntarily recalled nearly 4,000 bottles of Better Homes & Gardens-branded essential oil infused spray with gemstones due to the presence of the dangerous bacteria Burkholderia pseudomallei.
The bacteria can cause melioidosis, which is an infectious disease typically found in tropical climates. The infection can cause a range of symptoms, such as fever, headache and weight loss.
The CDC confirmed Tuesday lab tests showed bacterial strains in the spray genetically matched bacterial strains in melioidosis patients from Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota and Texas, confirming the spray or one of its ingredients caused the infections. Two of the cases were fatal.
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“When you think about the thousands of things people come into contact with around their homes, it’s remarkable we were able to identify the source and confirm it in the lab,” Inger Damon, director of the CDC’s Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, said in a statement.
“CDC scientists and our partners found the proverbial needle in the haystack,” Damon said.
The agency said it’s working to assess how widespread the contamination is in other bottles and whether other scents may be contaminated.
Anyone who purchased a bottle of Better Homes & Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Aromatherapy Spray with Gemstones or other scents in the same product line from Walmart between February and Oct. 21 of this year should stop using it immediately.
CDC urged consumers against pouring the contents down drains or throwing the bottles in the trash.
“The bacteria that cause melioidosis does not normally live in soil and water in the United States. If the spray bottles end up in landfills, the bacteria could become established and cause future melioidosis cases in the U.S. CDC is working with Walmart to ensure the returned bottles are disposed of properly and safely,” the agency said.
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