March 8, 2022 Update: Four patients total were infected with the same strain of Burkholderia pseudomallei. The bacterium is considered very rare in the U.S., with the CDC only reporting about 12 cases in the per year. After months of investigation, researchers posted a report in the New England Journal of Medicine on March 3, in which they traced the outbreak back to a Better Homes and Gardens room spray with a lavender and chamomile scent, which had been imported from India.
Two of the patients died within days of infection. The other two patients are have ongoing symptoms and disabilities. A 53-year-old male has a hip joint damaged by infection and continues to experience disorientation and confusion. The other patient, a four-year-old girl from Texas remains nonverbal and using a wheelchair three months after she left the hospital.
October 25, 2021: The CDC found a deadly bacterium, Burkholderia pseudomallei, which causes the disease melioidosis in a spray called “Better Homes & Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones.” So far, four patients have been identified in Georgia, Kansas, Texas and Minnesota. Two of those patients have died. The sprays were sold at Walmart between February and October of 2021. The store has pulled them from the shelves, the manufacturer has issued a recall on this and five other scented sprays that might be contaminated, including:
- Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lavender & Chamomile
- Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lemon and Mandarin
- Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lavender
- Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Peppermint
- Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lime & Eucalyptus
- Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Sandalwood and Vanilla
If you have this spray at home, the CDC recommends the following:
- 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.