Health Officials Warns of Severe Pulmonary Disease Outbreak Linked to E-cigarettes

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Credits: Wikimedia Commons/vaping360

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Health officials are warning consumers regarding a multistate outbreak of severe pulmonary disease associated with the use of e-cigarettes or vaping devices.

E-cigarettes are devices that deliver an aerosol to the user by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. Some users use e-cigarette devices for smoking marijuana or other substances.

At least 215 possible cases of severe pulmonary disease linked to the use of e-cigarettes have been reported in 25 states as of August 27. An adult in Illinois died of severe respiratory illness following his use of an e-cigarette product, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC together with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local health departments and other clinical and public health partners are investigating the cause of the severe pulmonary disease outbreak.

Several states reported that patients experience respiratory symptoms including cough, shortness of breath or chest pain. Some also experienced gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting or non-specific symptoms such as fatigue, fever or weight loss.

Some of the patients said their symptoms developed over a few days while others said their symptoms developed over several weeks. Many of the patients required medical treatment with supplemental oxygen while others needed assisted ventilation.

Several states reported that patients experience respiratory symptoms including cough, shortness of breath or chest pain. Some also experienced gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting or non-specific symptoms such as fatigue, fever or weight loss.

Based on evidence, health officials determined that an infectious disease was not the cause of the patients’ severe pulmonary disease. They found that all of the patients used e-cigarettes. Some of them used e-cigarettes containing cannabinoid products such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). 

In a statement, CDC Director Robert Redfield and Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless said, “We were deeply saddened last week to learn of the death of an adult in Illinois who had been hospitalized with a severe respiratory illness following the use of an e-cigarette product. We are working closely with state and local health officials to investigate these incidents as quickly as possible, and we are committed to taking appropriate actions as a clearer picture of the facts emerge[s].”

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