An aromatherapy spray sold at Walmart has been the cause of at least four bacterial infections that have resulted in at least two deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC confirmed on Tuesday that the Better Homes & Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones was the link between the infections in at least four different states – Kansas, Georgia, Minnesota and Texas. The bacterial infections resulted in at least two deaths, including a child.
Last Friday, the CDC announced that a bottle of the spray found in the home of one Georgia patient who died contained the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, usually found in the soil and water of subtropical climates. The bacterium can turn into a life-threatening infection called melioidosis if consumed, inhaled, or if it enters the body through a skin wound.
The first infection case was identified in March, an adult in Kansas who later died from it. Two additional non-travel-related melioidosis cases were confirmed by the CDC on 30 June, an adult in Minnesota and a four-year-old in Texas. In early August, the CDC confirmed that a fourth case of melioidosis in another child was identified in Georgia, and proved to be fatal.
In response to the CDC’s finding, Walmart recalled about 3,900 aromatherapy bottles that were sold at about 55 stores and on the company’s website between February and October, according to Reuters. Walmart will also be offering $20 gift cards to customers who return the aromatherapy sprays.
“As part of the recall we proactively put plans in action to notify customers and prevent further product sales while federal agencies continue their investigation,” said Walmart.
The CDC also said that it had contacted the spray’s manufacturer in India to understand if ingredients used in the recalled spray were used in any other products. The CDC will also be testing to see if any other scents of the aromatherapy spray were contaminated.