(WJW) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating the source of a rare and deadly bacteria that has been linked to bottles of room spray sold at Walmart.
The product is Better Homes and Gardens Essential Oil Infuse Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones.
Walmart sold 3,900 bottles of the spray.
Four people have been sicked with melioidosis, a condition caused by the bacteria Burkholderia pseudomallei.
Two people have died, including a child.
The spray has been confirmed to contain the deadly bacteria and found in the home of one person who died from melioidosis.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a voluntary recall of the product on October 22.
Walmart says after pulling the product it has been working to alert customers who purchased it via email, phone and letters.
From March to July of 2021, the CDC confirmed four linked cases of melioidosis in people from Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota, and Texas.
There are no cases in Ohio at this time.
Melioidosis is rare but most commonly linked to travel in areas where the disease is common.
The CDC says none of the patients had any recent history of international travel.
Whole-genome sequencing showed the strains of bacteria that sickened people were closely matched, the CDC says, which means there was a common source of infection.
The CDC tested blood samples from the patients and tested soil, water and other products from around the home.
The strain of bacteria was similar to those found often in South Asia, which led the CDC to suspect that an imported product could be connected to the cases.
In October of 2021, the CDC confirmed the bacteria was found in the aromatherapy spray that was at the home of the person in Georgia who had died.
Further testing showed the genetic fingerprint of the bacteria in the bottle matched those of all the people who had been sick.
The CDC has not determined whether the other 3 patients used the products.
There is also an investigation into the manufacturer in India that made the product, to determine if the bacteria may have affected other products.
Melioidosis, also known as Whitmore’s disease, is caused by the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, which can infect humans or animals, says the CDC.
The bacteria is most often found in contaminated water and soil and predominantly found in tropical climates like Southeast Asia and northern Australia.
It is spread to humans and animals through direct contact with the contaminated source.
The CDC cases typically show up 2 to 4 weeks after exposure.
The symptoms range from seizures to fevers.
The U.S. averages just 12 cases a year.
- Stop using this product immediately. Do not open the bottle. Do not throw away or 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 bagged and boxed product to a Walmart store.
- Wash sheets or linens that the product may have been sprayed on using normal laundry detergent and dry completely in a hot dryer; bleach can be used if desired.
- Wipe down counters and surfaces that might have the spray on them with undiluted Pine-Sol or similar disinfectant.
- Limit how much you handle the spray bottle and wash hands thoroughly after touching the bottle or linens. If you used gloves, wash hands afterward.
- If you have used the product within the past 21 days and have fever or other melioidosis symptoms, seek medical care and tell your doctor you were exposed to the spray. If you do not have symptoms but were exposed to the product in the last 7 days, your doctor may recommend that you get antibiotics (post-exposure prophylaxis) to prevent infection.
Walmart has released a complete list of every location that sold the product.