Healio Instagram Resource Center

Healio Instagram Resource Center

Source:

Press Release

Disclosures: Damon reports no relevant financial disclosures.
October 25, 2021
2 min read
Save

CDC links US cases of melioidosis to aromatherapy spray sold at Walmart

Source:

Press Release

Disclosures: Damon reports no relevant financial disclosures.
You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact customerservice@slackinc.com.

The CDC linked four cases of melioidosis in the United States — two of which were fatal — to an aromatherapy spray sold by Walmart.

Investigators identified the gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei in the spray, “Better Homes & Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones,” found in the home of a Georgia resident who died from melioidosis this past summer.

Source: Adobe Stock.
Source: Adobe Stock.

The CDC said it is testing to see if the genetic fingerprint of the bacteria in the spray bottle matches the bacteria identified in the four patients. It said previously that genomic sequencing indicated the four cases came from a common source.

The contaminated spray was sold at 55 Walmart locations and online from February through Oct. 21, the CDC said. Walmart has pulled the remaining bottles from its shelves and website and issued a recall of around 3,900 bottles of the spray in six scents, including lavender and chamomile, lemon and mandarin, lavender, peppermint, lime and eucalyptus, and sandalwood and vanilla. An investigation into whether other related scents and brands pose a risk is currently underway.

Melioidosis can be difficult to diagnose because it is often mistaken for tuberculosis, according to the CDC. It is predominantly found in tropical climates. The CDC said the genetic fingerprint of the bacteria that sickened the four people was similar to strains usually found in South Asia and that the aromatherapy spray was made in India.

The agency said previously that two of the four identified cases had no known risk factors for the disease. The other cases were reported in Kansas, Minnesota and Texas.

“Our hearts go out to the families that have been impacted by this situation,” Inger Damon, MD, PhD, who heads the CDC’s Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, said in a statement. “We at CDC have been very concerned to see these serious related [illnesses] 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.”

The CDC recommended the following for anyone who has the aromatherapy in their homes:

  • Stop using the product immediately. Do not open the bottle. Do not dispose of the bottle in the regular trash.
  • Double bag the bottle in clean, clear zip-top bags and place in a small cardboard box. Return the boxed item to Walmart.
  • Wash sheets and linens of anything that the product may have been sprayed on, using normal laundry detergent and dry completely in a hot dryer. Bleach may be used, if desired.
  • Wipe down all counters and surfaces that may have spray on them with disinfectant.
  • Limit how much you handle the spray bottle and wash hands thoroughly after touching the bottle. If you used gloves, wash your hands afterward.
  • If you have used the product within the last 21 days, and have a fever or other melioidosis symptoms, seek medical care and explain you were exposed to the spray. If you do not have symptoms, but were exposed in the past 7 days, your doctor may recommend antibiotics.

The CDC said it is working with state health departments to determine if the other three patients came into contact with the spray.

According to the CDC, about 12 cases of melioidosis occur in the United States each year. Globally, cases usually occur in those who live or have traveled to areas where the bacteria naturally occur, such as parts of South and Southeast Asia, as well as northern Australia.