Deadly bacteria found in aerosol spray

Product found in home of Georgia resident who died of rare disease this summer

An aromatherapy spray sold at 55 Walmart stores and on Walmart’s website is being recalled after lab tests showed it was contaminated with the same type of bacteria that killed two people and sickened two others this year.

The product, Better Homes & Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones, was found in the home of a Georgia resident who had died this summer.

Anyone who has the spray should stop using it immediately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises. Great care needs to be taken in handling and disposing of the bottle.

CDC says it should not be thrown out in regular trash but doubled bagged in clean, clear zip-top bags, placed in a small cardboard box and returned to a Walmart store. Any sheets or linens sprayed with the product should be washed and dried completely in a hot dryer, and counters and other surfaces that may have been sprayed should be disinfected.

Anyone who handled the spray bottle should wash hands thorough after touching it or linens.

Those who used the spray within the past 21 days and are suffering from fever, pain, respiratory distress or other symptoms of the disease melioidosis should seek medical care and tell the doctor about exposure to it. Doctors also may recommend that those who were exposed to the spray but don’t have symptoms receive antibiotics to prevent infection.

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Walmart and the Consumer Product Safety Commission are recalling this aromatherapy spray, after it was found to be contaminated with a rare and deadly bacteria. Contributed photo

Walmart and the Consumer Product Safety Commission are recalling this aromatherapy spray, after it was found to be contaminated with a rare and deadly bacteria. Contributed photo

caption arrowCaption
Walmart and the Consumer Product Safety Commission are recalling this aromatherapy spray, after it was found to be contaminated with a rare and deadly bacteria. Contributed photo

Melioidosis is caused by the bacteria Burkholderia pseudomallei, which is usually found in tropical climates.

But the Georgian died at a hospital in late July, and post-mortem testing confirmed that the victim had been infected with the bacteria. People in three other states also were stricken.

In March, a Kansas resident had died of the disease, and people in Texas and Minnesota with confirmed cases of the bacterial infection became severely ill.

The spray was sold between February and Oct. 21, when Walmart pulled the remaining bottles of the spray and five other scents from the same product line from store shelves and its website. But it has not yet been determined if other scents may pose a risk.

CDC is continuing to sequence the bacteria found in the bottle to determine if it matches the bacteria identified in the four patients.

“If what’s in the bottle genetically matches the samples from the patients, then you can definitely say this is what caused the illness,” said Christine Pearson, a spokesperson for the CDC.

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