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India-made aromatic room spray causes melioidosis: 2 die in US
An aromatic room spray called 'Better Homes & Gardens' is causing a rare but dangerous bacterial infection called melioidosis. The perfume imported from India has claimed two lives in the US. Walmart, which sells the perfume, has recalled the product. The CDC has listed a number of symptoms yet diagnosis is not simple. If not treated melioidosis can be fatal.

WASHINGTON, Oct 23: An aromatic room spray, sold under the Better Homes & Gardens brand, has been found to have caused four cases of a highly uncommon and dangerous bacterial infection called melioidosis that's rarely seen in the United States. The cases were identified in Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota and Texas and two of them, including a child, have died.

Walmart, which sold the spray, "Better Homes & Gardens Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones," imported from India, is recalling nearly 4,000 bottles, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced on Friday.

The CPSC has asked customers in possession of the spray to return it to Walmart rather than dispose of it themselves as that may lead to inhalation by others. It should be returned in a "clean, clear zip-top resealable bags" placed in a "small cardboard box."

Infection of melioidosis can occur through open wounds on skin or breathing in aerosols containing the bacteria.

The melioidosis bacteria, Burkholderia pseudomallei, is most commonly found in contaminated soil and water in tropical areas of southeast Asia, not in the US.

The US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) has warned whoever has used “Better Homes & Gardens Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones” and have symptoms of melioidosis to see a doctor right away.

Symptoms and treatment

It says there are several types of melioidosis infection, each with its own set of symptoms. However, it is important to note that melioidosis has a wide range of signs and symptoms that can be mistaken for other diseases such as tuberculosis or more common forms of pneumonia, CDC said. There could also be local infections pain, swelling, fever, ulceration and abscess. The pulmonary infections are cough, chest pain, high fever, headache and anorexia. Bloodstream Infection: fever, headache, respiratory distress, abdominal discomfort, joint pain, disorientation. Disseminated Infection: Fever, weight loss, stomach or chest pain, muscle or joint pain, headache, central nervous system/brain infection, seizures.

Generally symptoms of melioidosis appear in one day to four weeks after exposure. It can even be years. Underlying medical conditions may increase the risk of diseases.

Treatment for melioidosis is antimicrobial therapy:- Intravenous: Ceftazidime or Meropenem; Oral: Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole or Amoxicillin/clavulanic acid (co-amoxiclav).

A spokesperson for Walmart told The Hindu that the room spray was manufactured by “Flora Classique Inc.” The paper wrote: "Flora Classique is registered in Wildomar, California, the US. Its website says it is '...affliated 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'. Since 2018, the company has been a part of the Gala Candles Group, a German company."

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