An adult who had vaped has died after developing a severe respiratory illness, according to Illinois health officials. According to CNN, this is the first death to be reported amid a growing number of illnesses across the country that may be connected to vaping.
New data released Friday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 193 potential cases of severe lung disease in 22 states with possible links to vaping and e-cigarettes. This data is an increase of 40 new cases and 6 new states since Wednesday.
In Illinois alone, the number of confirmed and possible cases has doubled since last week. Now, a total of 22 cases, 12 investigations, and one death have been announced.
While cases appear to be similar, health officials cannot say for certain that vaping is the cause of these illnesses. Both the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health has affirmed that some patients have also reported using products containing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive substance in cannabis. However, no specific product has been linked to all cases or illnesses.
The CDC is working with state health departments and the US Food and Drug Administration to analyze the products and perform laboratory testing. The CDC has also urged doctors to collect samples from patients who might fit a similar description.
According to the state health department, patients with the disease experience a variety of symptoms, including cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, vomiting, and diarrhea that worsen over time. A number of cases have occurred among people who had no history of lung problems or pulmonary issues.
Experts say these illnesses are difficult to diagnose because they appear similar to common infections at first and later lead to more serious complications. They are also difficult to track because vaping-related lung disease is not a condition that is mandatory to report.
Further research and testing is needed to determine whether vaping is the cause of these illnesses or whether these diseases are different with similar symptoms.
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