The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that they were aware of a "cluster" of 153 cases of severe lung disease across 16 states that could be linked to e-cigarette use or vaping.
The multi-state investigation includes cases reported between June 28 and Aug. 20 in states from California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin. The cases have mostly involved teenagers and young adults. Officials say they have not identified a cause for the pulmonary illnesses, however, all "reported cases have e-cigarette produce use or 'vaping'" the agency said. The agency does not believe it is an infectious disease that's causing the illnesses.
Symptoms start gradually, the agency said, with people reporting difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, and/or chest pain before hospitalization. The illnessses typically present as a bad respiratory infection, but doesn't get better with normal antibiotic treatment. Other patients have also reported some mild to moderate gastrointestinal illnesses, including vomiting and diarrhea. There are no known deaths at this time, the agency said. Some patients have developed severe, progressive lung disease with some even requiring mechanical breathing assistance.
"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.
In California, public health officials say 21 people have been treated for acute respiratory distress syndrome after vaping unlicensed cannabis or CBD oil. The cases could be linked to the CDC investigation. However, health officials say all the victims in California had all vaped cannabis products purchased from so-called "pop-up" dealers who often sell their wares illegally using phony licenses.
The CDC first announced they were investigating a cluster of 94 possible cases of pulmonary illness in 14 states on Saturday. The CDC says the investigation is on-going and updates will be provided when officials know more. It's unclear whether contaminated e-liquid, the device itself, or how people purchased the vaping materials are the reason for the new cases.
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