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What is Meliodosis? Rare tropical disease that killed 2 linked to Walmart aroma spray

Walmart has issued a recall of roughly 3,900 bottles of Better Homes and Gardens Lavender and Chamomile room spray sold at 55 Walmart locations
UPDATED OCT 23, 2021
Walmart has recalled 3,900 bottles of Better Homes & Gardens spray (CPSC)
Walmart has recalled 3,900 bottles of Better Homes & Gardens spray (CPSC)

Close to 4,000 bottles of Better Homes and Gardens essential oil-infused aromatherapy room spray which comes with gemstones inside the bottles have been recalled by Walmart. The spray was found to carry a "rare and dangerous" bacteria which resulted in four people in different states across the United States coming down with a serious tropical disease. None of them had traveled internationally and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) said it was the aromatherapy spray imported from India which was responsible for their sickness. The product sold by Walmart contains Burkholderia pseudomallei, a dangerous bacteria that is known to cause melioidosis. 

In the recent past, Tyson Foods, the world's second-largest processor of chicken, beef, and pork had to recall over 8.5 million pounds of chicken products over listeria contamination in July. In a similar incident from February, the FDA increased its initial dog food recall after 70 pooches died and 80 fell sick due to poisoning after eating Sportmix pet food. In October last year, Cottonelle had to recall their wet wipes over bacteria contamination. Johnson & Johnson had to recall their sunscreen as some samples were found to contain low levels of benzene which is known to cause cancer, anemia, immune system damage, irregular menses, and a decrease in ovary size. 


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What is Melioidosis?

According to the CDC, "Melioidosis, also called Whitmore’s disease, is an infectious disease that can infect humans or animals. The disease is caused by the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. It is predominately a disease of tropical climates, especially in Southeast Asia and northern Australia where it is widespread. The bacteria causing melioidosis are found in contaminated water and soil. It is spread to humans and animals through direct contact with the contaminated source."

Both humans and animals can acquire the melioidosis infection by inhalation of contaminated dust or water droplets, ingestion of contaminated water, and ingestion of soil-contaminated food or other contact with contaminated soil, especially through cuts or bruises in the skin. Transfer of the infection between humans is very rarely a possibility. Besides humans, sheep, goats, swine, horses, cats, dogs, and cattle are susceptible to the infection. To know what different symptoms look like, click here

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the 3,900 bottles of the recalled product were being sold at about 55 Walmart stores across America as well as Walmart's website. CDC has been investigating cases of melioidosis in the US and cases have been reported in Kansas, Minnesota, Texas, and Georgia. Two deaths have been reported, including a child. The CDC has advised users of this product to stop using it immediately and double bag the bottles in clean zip lock bags and put them inside a cardboard box before returning it to Walmart and asking for a refund. For people who believe they've used the product, they'll need to wash all sheets and linen with regular detergent and dry them in a hot dryer. Disinfecting all surfaces that the product may have touched is also advised.