After a months-long investigation into the death of two people and the severe illness of two others involving the bacteria Burkholderia pseudomallei, experts finally found the missing link—a lavender and chamomile spray. The bacteria is most commonly found in South Asia and rarely found in the US, but none of the patients had left the country. After doing a sweep of the four victims’ homes for anything that could lead to the bacteria entering the respiratory system, investigators found that all four had come in contact with a lavender and chamomile scent of Better Homes & Gardens Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray With Gemstones which had been imported from India and sold at 55 Walmart stores and online, reports NBC.
The four cases spanned various ages. According to the recently published study, a four-year-old girl in Texas was vomiting and had a fever then, within days, was hospitalized with septic shock. Now, she is reportedly in a wheelchair and unable to speak. A five-year-old boy in Georgia was vomiting, fatigued and had a sore throat and fever. At the hospital, he tested positive for COVID and passed four days after being admitted to the hospital. The autopsy revealed that he also had Burkholderia pseudomallei in his body.
The other two patients were both 53 years old. A Minnesota man was hospitalized with weakness and confusion. He developed a fever and severe pain in his hip. He was eventually released, but his mental status had not improved. A woman in Kansas went to the hospital with breathing problems and fatigue and went into septic shock, passing nine days later.
Following these cases, on November 2, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that Walmart would be recalling thousands of products. In addition to recalling the lavender and chamomile spray that linked these four cases, Walmart recalled other scents in the line: lemon and mandarin; lavender; peppermint; lime and eucalyptus; and sandalwood and vanilla. Additionally, they sent out warnings to consumers who had purchased the sprays advising them to immediately get rid of them.
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