CDC lab tests reveal Better Homes and Gardens aromatherapy sold at Walmart may contain life-threatening bacteria

Minnesotan among four nationwide who have fallen ill from an EMS-like bacteria; of Georgia and Kansas residents have died
“Better Homes & Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Aromatherapy Infused Essential Oil Spray with Gemstones” may contain potentially harmful bacteria.

ATLANTA, GA – Lab tests have determined that an aromatherapy spray sold at select Walmart stores and the chain’s website contains the same type of bacteria that sickened four people in the United States, including one in Minnesota , this year – and two have died.

The spray, “Better Homes & Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones,” was found on October 6 in the home of a Georgia resident who fell ill with melioidosis in late July and died, according to an alert Friday from the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

The CDC, which carried out the tests, is continuing testing to see if the genetic fingerprint of the Burkholderia pseudomallei in the vial matches those of the bacteria identified in the four patients – one each in Georgia, Kansas, Texas and Minnesota. In addition to Georgia’s death, the Kansas resident has passed away.

The contaminated spray was sold in about 55 Walmart stores and on the Walmart website between February and October 21, when Walmart pulled the remaining bottles of the spray and related products from store shelves and from its website.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission and Walmart are issuing a recall for the Lavender Chamomile Room Spray and five other scents in the same product line. Investigation is continuing to determine if other fragrances and related brands may pose a risk.

The CDC recommends that anyone with this aromatherapy spray in their home:

  • Stop using this product immediately. Do not open the bottle. Do not throw or throw the bottle in the regular trash.
  • Double wrap the bottle in clean, clear zipper bags and place it in a small cardboard box. Return the wrapped and wrapped product to a Walmart store.
  • Wash any sheets or laundry on which the product may have been sprayed with normal laundry detergent and dry completely in a hot dryer; bleach can be used if desired.
  • Wipe down counters and surfaces that may be sprayed with undiluted Pine-Sol or a similar disinfectant.
  • Limit how much you handle the spray bottle and wash your hands thoroughly after touching the bottle or the sheets. If you used gloves, wash your hands afterwards.
  • If you have used the product within the past 21 days and experience fever or other symptoms of melioidosis, see a doctor and tell your doctor that you have been exposed to the spray. If you have no symptoms but have been exposed to the product within the past seven days, your doctor may recommend that you take antibiotics (post-exposure prophylaxis) to prevent infection.

The CDC has tested blood samples from patients, as well as soil, water and consumer products in and around the homes of the four patients since the agency began receiving samples in May.

A sample of the Better Homes & Gardens spray tested positive this week. The genetic fingerprint of the bacteria that sickened the four patients is similar to that of strains usually found in South Asia; the aromatherapy spray was made in India.

The CDC is coordinating with the state health departments of Kansas, Minnesota and Texas to try to determine if the other three patients may also have used this product or similar products.

“At the CDC, we’ve been very concerned to see these serious illnesses linked to time and geography,” said Dr. Inger Damon, director of the CDC’s High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology Division, which manages the disease. melioidosis.

That is why our scientists have continued to work tirelessly to try to find the potential source of melioidosis infections in these patients. “

Melioidosis is a rare but serious disease in the United States, with approximately 12 cases reported each year. Globally, most cases involve people who live or have traveled to areas where the bacteria is naturally present, such as parts of South and Southeast Asia and northern Australia. It is also occasionally found in the Americas, such as Brazil, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.

Melioidosis causes a wide range of symptoms that can be mistaken for other common illnesses, such as the flu or the common cold. Person-to-person spread is extremely rare.

More information on melioidosis is on the CDC website.

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Terrence J. James