Walmart Room Spray Linked to Multiple Deaths and Illnesses

A popular room spray sold at Walmart has been linked to multiple deaths and illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed Tuesday that the previously recalled Better Homes & Gardens Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones has been linked to two deaths and two illnesses. The cases, involving positive melioidosis cases, have been documented since March in Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota, and Texas.

The findings come after Walmart on Friday issued a recall for the spray affecting approximately 3,900 bottles of the room sprays. The CDC announced that same day that a bottle of the BHG aromatherapy spray in "Lavender & Chamomile with Gemstones" scent had tested positive for Burkholderia pseudomallei. The CDC then began working to "confirm the DNA fingerprint of the bacteria in the spray and in the patients was the same." After samples were gathered from the homes of the positive melioidosis cases, the CDC confirmed Tuesday that a sample from a bottle in the home of the Georgia victim "genetically matches the bacterial strains in the patient."

Burkholderia pseudomallei is a bacteria that can cause melioidosis. Also known as Whitmore's disease, melioidosis is a rare but serious infectious disease that can infect humans or animals. Melioidosis is more common in tropical climates, and only about 12 cases are reported worldwide annually. According to the CDC, melioidosis has a wide range of signs and symptoms that can be mistaken for other diseases and commonly include fever, cough, chest pain, headache, respiratory distress, brain infections, seizures, and more.

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Amid the CDC's findings, the agency confirmed it has contacted the spray's manufacturer in India "to determine whether ingredients from the implicated spray were used in any other products," and CDC scientists are continuing to assess the extent of contamination in other bottles and whether other scents may also be contaminated. The recalled products include: 84140411420 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lavender & Chamomile; 84140411421 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lemon and Mandarin; 84140411422 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lavender; 84140411423 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Peppermint; 84140411424 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lime & Eucalyptus; and 84140411425 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Sandalwood and Vanilla. They were sold in about 55 stores in 18 states. The CDC is encouraging those who have the sprays to not pour them down the drain or throw them in the trash, as doing so could cause the bacteria "become established and cause future melioidosis cases in the U.S." The CDC said it is working with Walmart "to ensure the returned bottles are disposed of properly and safely."