Melioidosis is a serious infection that is caused by the bacteria B. pseudomallei. In 2021, a little girl in Texas got melioidosis from an aromatherapy spray from Walmart.
Need a Texas Melioidosis & Whitmore’s Disease Lawyer? Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged. If you or a loved one was diagnosed with Melioidosis or Whitmore’s disease, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit.
Texas Hit By Outbreak of Melioidosis from Walmart Aromatherapy Spray
In the summer of 2021, Texas was one of 4 states hit by a deadly outbreak of melioidosis. People got sick after breathing a “rare and dangerous” bacteria in Walmart’s aromatherapy spray. Two people died, including one adult and a healthy 5-year-old boy from Georgia who died within a week of becoming infected. Another little girl from Texas barely survived, but suffered brain damage.
“Doctors Stunned” — Texas Girl Left With Brain Damage After Melioidosis Infection from Walmart Aromatherapy Spray
Tragically, a 4-year-old girl from Texas suffered brain damage within days of being infected with melioidosis from Walmart’s aromatherapy spray.
The curly-haired little girl was from a small town in Texas. She got sick from Walmart’s aromatherapy spray, which was made in India, where it was contaminated by a bacteria called B. pseudomallei.
The girl initially developed symptoms like a typical stomach bug. Within days, the infection tore through her body and got into her brain.
“This is a little girl, 4 years old, who was walking and talking and so excited for preschool in the fall, who now can’t speak and can’t hold her head up, can’t walk. It’s kind of like starting over.”
Doctors had no idea what was causing her symptoms for days. She was treated unsuccessfully for autoimmune diseases and even rabies, but it wasn’t until a neurologist took a sample of fluid from her brain that she tested positive for the bacteria that causes melioidosis.
Source: “Doctors are still stunned: How did foreign bacteria leave a Texas girl with brain damage?” (Alison Young: Special to USA Today) — July 11, 2021.
Lawsuit Filed by Parents of Child Who Died of Melioidosis
In February 2022, a lawsuit was filed against Walmart by the parents of a 5-year-old boy from Georgia named Wyatt who died of melioidosis after breathing a contaminated aromatherapy room spray from Walmart.
According to the lawsuit, the boy had no underlying health issues before he suddenly fell ill in early July 2021 with fatigue, nausea, vomiting, weakness, shallow breathing, and moderate dehydration.
Tragically, he died only a week after a falling ill. The initial cause of death was listed as COVID-19 and may have delayed his diagnosis, but post-mortem testing identified melioidosis as the actual cause of death and confirmed that he was infected with B. pseudomallei.
Furthermore, samples taken by the CDC from a bottle of Walmart’s aromatherapy room spray confirmed that it was contaminated with B. pseudomallei, a dangerous bacteria that causes melioidosis.
The Meliodosis Lawsuit was filed on February 7, 2022 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California — Case Number 5:22-cv-00238.
What is Melioidosis?
Melioidosis, also known as Whitmore’s disease, is a bacterial infection that is caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei (B. pseudomallei). This bacteria lives in soil and water, mostly in Southeast Asia — but in 2022, the bacteria that causes melioidosis was also found along the Gulf Coast in Mississippi in the U.S.
Misdiagnosis of Melioidosis Increases Risk of Death
Melioidosis is common in tropical parts of the world, but it is rare in the U.S. and misdiagnosis is common. The longer it takes for a doctor to properly diagnosis melioidosis, the higher the risk of death — especially for children, who have a death rate of 35% globally. Treatment is also challenging because the bacteria is naturally antibiotic-resistant.
Symptoms Vary Widely Depending on Type of Infection
Melioidosis is nicknamed “the great mimicker” because the symptoms are frequently mistaken for other diseases, like tuberculosis or fungal infections. The symptoms of melioidosis also vary widely depending on what part of the body it is infecting. Many people report vague or non-specific symptoms, which can hinder diagnosis and treatment.
Symptoms Can Quickly Cause Death, or Persist for Months
People with melioidosis infections can die within 48 hours when it gets into the bloodstream or brain. In other cases, it takes months for symptoms to appear. The infection can also re-activate decades later. It was nicknamed “The Vietnamese Time Bomb” because the infection returned up to 26 years after Vietnam War veterans returned to the U.S.
Fortunately, with a quick diagnosis, melioidosis is curable with antibiotic treatment. Without treatment, melioidosis can persist for months or even years. Approximately 10% of people with melioidosis develop symptoms that last longer than 2 months, called “chronic melioidosis.”
Melioidosis Lung Infection Symptoms
- Chest pain during breathing
- Pus or blood in lung tissues
- High fever
- Weight loss
- Symptoms may look like tuberculosis, pneumonia or bronchitis
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