State and federal health officials are investigating nearly 100 cases of mysterious lung disease associated with vaping and use of e-cigarettes in 14 states, many involving teens and young people.
A large proportion of the affected patients are hospitalized, some of which are also intensively ventilated.
At least 31 cases have been confirmed by Friday, state officials said, and dozens more are under investigation. Medical authorities say it is unclear whether patients will fully recover.
Officials warn clinicians and the public to be on the lookout for what they define as severe and potentially dangerous lung damage. Symptoms include shortness of breath, shortness of breath, or chest pain before hospitalization.
Health officials said patients also reported fever, cough, vomiting and diarrhea.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday that employees have been working with health departments in at least five states with confirmed cases ̵
In a conversation Friday with state health authorities, CDC officials said they were investigating 94 possible cases in 14 states.
To date, there is no consistent evidence that the culprit is an infectious disease, CDC spokeswoman Katie Harben said. Although some of the cases appear to be similar, officials say they do not know whether the diseases are related to the electronic cigarette devices themselves or to specific ingredients or pollutants inhaled through them.
Health officials say patients have described vaping various substances, including nicotine, marijuana-based products, and making "home boils".
Highlighting the growing concern, CDC officials say they are communicating health care. systems and clinicians across the country for diseases and what to look out for. State health agencies have also issued warnings.
E-cigarettes have grown in popularity over the last decade, despite little study of their long-term effects. In recent years, health authorities have been warning of an epidemic of vaping by underage teens.
The flagship brand, Jul, said it monitors disease reports and has "robust safety monitoring systems".
Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, a group that advocates for vaping products, said that about 10 million adults wash nicotine every month without major problems.
"It seems much more likely that products that cause damage to the lungs are on amateur street vapes containing THC or illegal drugs rather than nicotine," he argued.
But the health authorities are not at all sure that this is correct.
"We didn't have such a history of vaping that we could convince anyone – teenagers involved – that it was a safe practice," said Emily Chapman, chief medical officer at Children's Minnesota, a Minneapolis-based health care system for four teenagers, ages 16 to 18, with pulmonary disease.
Over the past month, teenagers presented symptoms that seemed manageable and consistent with viral infections or bacterial pneumonia – shortness of breath, cough, fever and abdominal discomfort, Chapman said.
But they continued to deteriorate despite proper treatment, including antibiotics and oxygen support. Some of them suffered respiratory failure and had to be placed on ventilators, she said.
Chapman said that doctors eventually made the connection to vaping-related acute lung damage. When patients were treated with steroids, they showed improvement among other therapies.
Clinicians do not know if patients will have long-term effects, she said.
"These cases are extremely difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can mimic a common infection, but can still lead to severe complications and prolonged hospitalization," Chapman said.
"Medical care is essential. Respiratory conditions can continue to decline without proper treatment."
Electronic cigarettes are a diverse product group containing a heating element that produces an aerosol from a liquid that consumers can inhale through a mouthpiece. . Millions of Americans use e-cigarettes, with the greatest benefit among young adults.
In 2018, more than 3.6 million high school and high school students said they had used e-cigarettes in the last 30 days, according to the CDC.
A report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine in January 2018 found that, although evidence indicates that e-cigarettes are likely to be less harmful than conventional cigarettes that produce toxic flares when burned substances, they still pose health risks
Among non-smoking adolescents and young people, the report states that "their adverse effects clearly raise concerns".
Such effects include "moderate evidence of increased coughing and wheezing" and an increased incidence of asthma attacks.
But many medical authorities believe that there is still insufficient data to know their full impact, especially on young people.
Dylan Nelson of Burlington, Wisconsin, who has asthma and has been around for about a year, was hospitalized for pneumonia last month after he started having breathing problems.
A 26-year-old child describes the feeling of breathing through a straw. He said he was coughing, his heart was pounding, and his breathing was heavy and fast.
Nelson said he had spent days in the hospital as part of that time was attached to a ventilator. His mother, Kim Barnes, said that when a nurse told her it might be vaping, it was a wake-up call for her.
Now she wants to pass on this urgency to other parents: "You have to sit your children down and tell them about the dangers of these things. If you are an adult, it is reasonable – it is not good. Look at it before you decide to pick up these things and start using them. "
Including Nelson, Wisconsin had 15 confirmed cases by Thursday and another 15 under investigation, the health department said. All were hospitalized. The first cases are among teens and young adults, but the more recent include patients in older age groups
All patients reported wapping weeks and months before being hospitalized, but employees said they did not know the names and types of products used.
The New York Health Department announced that an active investigation on Friday only 11 reported cases of pulmonary disease in people using vape products; it has issued a nationwide council for healthcare providers, with patients ranging from 18 to 49 years old, and many reporting the use of cannabis containing products, the advisory board said
The Minnesota International Health Department called on providers to be on the lookout for "a letdown as a cause of unexplained breathing problems and lung injury and illness. "Asks clinicians to look for cases and report them.
" There are still many unanswered questions, "says Ruth Linfield, Minnesota state epidemiologist and medical director of the health department." But the health damage stemming from the current epidemic of Minnesota youth vaping continue to increase. "
Doctors have seen" scattered cases "of lung diseases associated with vaping before, but they have not established a model so far, said Chapman, of Minnesota Children's.
"I think it's important for us to understand that we are vaping rhyme is safe and yet we know so little about it, "she said.
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