OCT 22, 2021 7:28 PM PDT

Aromatherapy Spray Recalled Because of Deadly Bacterial Contamination

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning people who purchased an aromatherapy spray called “Better Homes & Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones” from Walmart; the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has concluded that the spray contains pathogenic bacteria called Burkholderia pseudomallei. The CDC stated that so far, the only variety of the product linked to the outbreak is the Lavender & Chamomile scent. But there are several other scents of Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones, and all have been recalled.

 Burkholderia pseudomallei bacteria / Credit: CDC/ Dr. Todd Parker, Audra Marsh

Burkholderia pseudomallei can lead to melioidosis, an illness that can cause a serious multi-systemic infection. Symptoms can vary widely, making it challenging to diagnose. It's sometimes confused with tuberculosis, according to the CDC. Melioidosis may include fever, cough, chest pain, anorexia, weight loss, joint or muscle pain, headache, and other health problems. The infection can be fatal, especially in people with underlying health conditions.

In the current outbreak, four cases of illness and two deaths, including that of a child, have occurred so far.

The source of the bacteria is thought to be the aromatherapy spray because a bottle was recovered from the home of one of the victims, and when the contents of the bottle were tested, it was found to contain the pathogen.

Walmart has estimated that about 3,900 of these bottles were purchased. The CDC has reported that the contaminated spray "was sold in 55 Walmart stores and on Walmart’s website between February and October 21."

The CDC stated that if anyone bought this product, they should not open it, nor should they dispose of it normally. The spray should be put "in clean, clear zip-top bags," and sealed inside. These bags should then be placed in a small cardboard box, and returned to a Walmart.

If the spray has been used, any sheets or linens that have come into contact with the spray should be thoroughly cleaned with hot water and bleach if possible in a washer, then fully dried in a dryer. Surfaces that were potentially contaminated should be disinfected. Anyone that has to return the prouct should limit their contact with the bottle as much as possible, and wash their hands after touching it or anything that's been contaminated.

The CDC also suggested that anyone who has been in contact with this spray in the past 21 days should notify a health care provider. Antibiotics may be recommended.

Learn more from the CDC

Sources: CDC, CPSC

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
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