Earlier this year, an aromatherapy spray caused four people in different states in the US to fall sick with melioidosis, a rare tropical disease.
None of them had travelled internationally. Two of them died.
The aromatherapy spray was made in India and imported to the US, where it was sold at Walmart stores on the company's website from February to 21 October this year, reported an India-based news outlet.
Walmart was selling the product for USD4, approximately RM17.
According to The Hindu yesterday, 23 October, the product is labelled "Better Homes & Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones" and was found on 6 October in the home of a Georgia resident who became ill with melioidosis in late July.
It reported the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) saying that the spray contained a bacterium, Burkholderia pseudomallei, that causes the rare but deadly disease.
The genetic profile of the bacteria in the bottle is similar to that of strains usually found in South Asia, The Associated Press reported while citing America's public health agency as saying.
Melioidosis is rare in the US, with about 12 cases reported annually.
Walmart has since pulled the product from its store shelves
According to US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a recall order for the approximately 3,900 bottles that were sold in six different scents was issued on Friday.
The room spray was sold with a pump spray nozzle in the following scents and product numbers:
- 84140411420 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lavender & Chamomile
- 84140411421 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lemon and Mandarin
- 84140411422 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lavender
- 84140411423 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Peppermint
- 84140411424 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lime & Eucalyptus
- 84140411425 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Sandalwood and Vanilla
While the CDC did not disclose any other details about the spray's origins, The Hindu quoted a Walmart spokesperson saying that the spray was manufactured by a company called 'Flora Classique Inc'
Flora Classique is registered in Wildomar, California, the US, the India-based news outlet reported.
According to The Hindu, Flora Classique's website says it is "...affiliated with Ramesh Flowers Pvt Ltd. in Tuticorin India, one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of Home Fragrance and Home Decor products in India since its inception in 1982".
An online check by SAYS showed that the company's website is now "under construction".
In May this year, Singapore recalled 18 brands of hand sanitisers due to high levels of acetaldehyde and/or methanol: