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Walmart recalls aromatherapy room spray after two deaths

October 22, 2021, 10:27 PM UTC

Walmart has recalled bottles of an aromatherapy room spray that is suspected of containing a bacteria that killed two people, including a child, and infected two others.

The recall is for the Better Homes and Gardens Lavender and Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones, sold at Walmart for $4. The recall also includes versions with lavender, lemon and mandarin, peppermint, sandalwood and vanilla, and lime and eucalyptus.

The product is suspected of containing melioidosis, which can infect the lungs or bloodstream in humans and animals. Humans passing the disease to each other is extremely rare, according to the Centers for Disease Control, with most infections coming from contaminated dust, soil, or water droplets.

The recall covers the around 3,900 bottles that Walmart sold from February to October 21. The sales were in Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota, and Texas, where there were four melioidosis cases between March and July.

If you have used the product in the last 21 days, you should see a doctor, even if you don’t have the known symptoms, says the CDC. For people have bought a bottle, the Consumer Product Safety Commission advises returning it to the store in a double bag rather than throwing it out.

Melioidosis, otherwise known as Whitmore’s disease, is caused by the bacteria called Burkholderia pseudomallei. The particular strain detected appears to be from South Asia; the spray was made in India, reports Stat News. The CDC lists Southeast Asia and northern Australia as the most likely areas to find the disease. In the U.S., it only “occurs naturally” in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A bottle of the Better Homes and Gardens spray from the home of one of the people who fell ill was found to be contaminated with melioidosis. However, it’s unknown whether the spray actually infected all four people.

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