Two deaths linked to deadly bacteria in Walmart spray

Supermarket has removed product from shelves after CDC probe

Gino Spocchia
Saturday 23 October 2021 16:05

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Walmart has said it is “deeply concerned” after an aromatherapy spray it sold was connected to two deaths from a rare antibacterial infection.

In an announcement on Friday, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said Walmart was recalling an aromatherapy spray from its US stores after a potentially deadly bacteria called Burkholderia pseudomallei was found.

The CPSC said the bacteria had been found in the bottle of an aromatherapy spray of one of two people who have died from melioidosis, “a condition that is difficult to diagnose and can be fatal”.

All four people who fell ill with melioidosis had the spray at home, the CSPC said, although it remains unclear if the aromatherapy product was at fault.

The spay, “Better Homes & Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstone”, was one of five scents that are also being recalled by Walmart.

More than 4,000 bottles are being recalled, and anybody with the spray at home is being asked to return it to Walmart, which said that it was “deeply concerned” by the findings.

“We took immediate action after federal agencies alerted us Wednesday of concerns with an aromatherapy room spray manufactured by Flora Classique Inc. and sold under the Better Homes & Gardens brand,” a statement from Walmart read.

Walmart told The Independent on Saturday that the spray had been sold at 55 stores, and the cases of meliodosis were in Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota and Texas.

Investigators from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were alerted to the rare illness after four cases in many months, with neither of the four people travelling overseas.

After failing to find the bacteria in water sources around the homes, the CDC turned toward products imported from overseas, when a spray was found to contain Burkholderia pseudomallei.

According to ABC News, the bacteria is usually found in contained water in southeast Asia or northern Australia and those who fall ill have often travelled overseas.

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