CDC investigates link between vaping, mysterious illness; cases reported in 15 states

Henrietta Brewer
August 21, 2019

As of August 15, 2019, there were 94 reported possible cases of severe lung diseases linked to vaping across 14 states since June 28.

- The Texas Department of State Health Services said Monday that it is investigating suspected cases of severe lung disease in those who have used e-cigarettes. Of the cases, 30 have occurred in Wisconsin.

The CDC is working with health divisions in Wisconsin, Illinois, California, Indiana and Minnesota on the probe.

"Additional states have alerted CDC to possible (not confirmed) cases and investigations into these cases are ongoing", the statement said. In almost all cases an infectious illness has been ruled out, suggesting the issue is not related to a viral disease.

While some cases in each of the states are similar and appear to be linked to e-cigarette product use, more information is needed to determine what is causing the illnesses, the CDC said.

Last year, 3.6 million middle and high school students across the USA used e-cigarettes, according to the CDC, up from 2.1 million in 2017.

"We do need to concern ourselves with the long term side effects might be in terms of respiratory side effects particularly with patients with chronic respiratory issues and other side effects", said Dr. Dan Urbine, a pulmonologist at UF Shands and VA hospital. In addition to nicotine-based products, many patients also used those with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

Utah public health officials are investigating after the recent hospitalizations of five people who experienced serious breathing problems and reported recent vaping.

A cluster of pulmonary illnesses have appeared among primarily adolescents and young adults in 14 states since June of a year ago. The CDC warns children and young people in using e-cigarettes. This substance can harm brain development in teens, which can go in into early to their mid-20s. All of the patients reported that they had vaped in the weeks or months before falling ill.

The CDC estimates that in 2018, more than 3.6 million middle and high school students in the United States said they had used e-cigarettes in the past month.

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