The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that a now recalled aromatherapy spray sold at Walmart or “one of its ingredients” is the cause of four cases of rare and infectious disease, including two deaths .
Last week, the agency announced that a bottle of Better Homes & Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones from a resident’s home in Georgia tested positive for Burkholderia pseudomallei, which causes melioidosis. , according to the CDC said.
Walmart pulled the product from store shelves and set up a registry block in stores and online to prevent sales of the product after the agency began investigating four cases of melioidosis in the United States, which had been reported in Kansas, Minnesota, Texas and Georgia. Two of the patients died, the CDC said.
On Tuesday, the agency discovered that the DNA fingerprint of the bacteria found in the Better Homes & Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones sample vial genetically matched the bacterial strains of the Georgia resident along with three other patients. who got sick. with melioidosis earlier this year, according to the CDC.
As a result, the agency said it could “confirm that the spray or one of its ingredients caused all four melioidosis infections.”
WALMART PRODUCT TESTS RECALLED POSITIVE FOR KILLING BACTERIA
Melioidosis is both difficult to diagnose and can be fatal, according to the recall notice issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Inger Damon, director of the CDC’s pathogens and high-consequence pathology division, said the agency’s latest discovery was like finding “the proverbial needle in the haystack.”
“When you think of the thousands of things people come in contact with around their homes, it’s remarkable that we were able to identify the source and confirm it in the lab,” Damon said.
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The recall involves six different fragrances that were sold in over 50 Walmart stores in 18 states and on the retailer’s website. Spray bottles were available from February to the end of October.
However, after being alerted by federal health officials, Walmart said it “quickly implemented plans” to protect customers, including preventing future sales and notifying every potentially affected customer via email.
“Our condolences go out to the four families who have been affected by this situation,” Walmart said in a statement. “Customer safety is always a top priority and as part of the recall, we have proactively implemented plans to educate customers and prevent new product sales while federal agencies continue their investigation. “
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CPSC, Walmart and CDC have contacted the manufacturer of the product in India to see if the ingredients of the offending spray are being used in other products, according to the agency.
There are about 12 reported cases of melioidosis in the United States each year, the CDC said. Most cases are found in people who live or travel to other parts of the world where the bacteria are naturally present, such as parts of South and Southeast Asia and northern Australia.
Dangerous bacteria can cause a wide range of symptoms and can be mistaken for common illnesses such as the flu or the common cold, according to the CDC.