The spray, "Better Homes and Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones" was found October 6 in the home of a Georgia resident who became ill with melioidosis in late July.

This undated photo provided by Walmart and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a bottle of Better Homes & Gardens aromatherapy lavender & chamomile essential oil and semiprecious stone-infused room spray.   | Photo Credit: AP

The spray, "Better Homes and Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones" was found October 6 in the home of a Georgia resident who became ill with melioidosis in late July.

A made-in-India aromatherapy spray is being pulled of retail giant Walmart shelves in the United States after a medical investigation has linked it to melioidosis, a rare disease that has sickened at least four, and may have caused two deaths, in the country.

The spray was reported to contain a bacterium, Burkholderia pseudomallei, that causes a rare but deadly disease called melioidosis, the US Centers for Disease Control, said in a statement on Friday.

The spray, "Better Homes and Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones" was found October 6 in the home of a Georgia resident who became ill with melioidosis in late July.

Other than mentioning that the spray was manufactured in India, no other details on the spray's origins have been disclosed.

The contaminated spray was sold at 55 Walmart stores on the company's website from February - October 21 of this year, when Walmart pulled remaining bottles of the spray and related products from store shelves.

The CDC has been testing blood samples from patients as well as soil, water and consumer products from in and around patients' homes since they began receiving samples in May.

A sample of the Better Homes & Gardens spray tested positive this week and genetic analysis revealed that it was similar to the strains found in South Asia, a CDC statement noted.

Melioidosis is a rare but serious disease in the United States with 12 cases reported annually. The causative bacterium is extremely elusive and hard to detect and the disease symptoms it manifests are frequently mistaken for other diseases.

The true burden of the disease is unknown in India but a 2016 modelling study by scientists at the University of Oxford predicted a global incidence of around 165,000 cases worldwide with an estimated case fatality of 89,000 (54%). This study suggested melioidosis to be endemic to India with an annual incidence of close to 52,500 cases. Treatment usually involves a long intensive course of intravenously delivered anti-microbial therapy.

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