A rare bacteria discovered in a specific Walmart brand product is being investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention following two deaths.
Roughly 3,900 bottles of six scents of the company’s Better Homes & Gardens Gem Room Spray are being recalled.
According to WJXT-TV, the following product numbers and scents may contain a bacteria known as Burkholderia pseudomallei:
- 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
- 84140411425 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Sandalwood and Vanilla
“CDC has been testing blood samples from the patients, as well as soil, water, and consumer products from in and around the four patients’ homes since the agency began receiving samples in May,” a news release from the CDC said.
The agency pointed out that the spray was manufactured in India, which is consistent with the bacteria’s South Asian origins.
“A sample of the Better Homes & Gardens spray tested positive this week. The genetic fingerprint of the bacteria that sickened the four patients is similar to that of strains usually found in South Asia; the aromatherapy spray was made in India. CDC is coordinating with state health departments in Kansas, Minnesota, and Texas to try to determine whether the other three patients may have also used this or similar products.”
Burkholderia pseudomallei causes melioidosis, which typically shows up in humans as a lung or bloodstream infection, according to Healthline.
Four cases of the disease are being investigated for ties to the essential oil sprays, including the aforementioned two deaths.
For consumers who do own the product, there is a series of steps they are advised to take to safely remove the spray and its traces, according to the CDC.
Consumers are urged not to throw away the product, as the hazardous bacteria would still be a threat.
Instead, they should double-bag the product with two clear resealable bags, place the bagged spray into a cardboard box and return it to a Walmart location.
When handling the product, it is strongly recommended that gloves be worn to avoid contamination.
Other cleaning measures include washing sheets and towels the oil was sprayed on with hot water and drying them fully, and disinfecting any other surfaces that the spray may have been used on.
Those who do return the essential oil spray will receive a $20 Walmart gift card as a refund, and are advised to monitor themselves for symptoms if they ever used the product.
“Our hearts go out to the families that have been impacted by this situation,” Dr. Inger Damon, the CDC’s director of the Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, said.
“We at CDC have been very concerned to see these serious related illness spread across time and geography. That is why our scientists have continued to work tirelessly to try to find the potential source for the melioidosis infections in these patients. We hope this work can help protect other people who may have used this spray.”
This incident should serve as a reminder to major companies that more of their goods should be made in the United States in hopes to avoid health crises like this one, as American-made goods are typically subject to tighter regulations.
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