Illinois resident suffering breathing issues after vaping dies
An Illinois resident who was recently hospitalized with severe respiratory issues after vaping has died.
The death comes as reports of illnesses from vaping are growing around the country, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announcing Friday that more than 193 possible cases of severe lung illness from vaping products in 22 states are under investigation.
All of the cases were identified between June 28 and August 20.
“We find ourselves in the early stages of these investigations trying to piece together the facts. Many of these cases have involved the presence of compounds like THC,” said Mitch Zeller, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products, during a call with reporters.
“At times we are relying on case reporting that is incomplete and requires time to gather basic information like the name of the product that was used, where it was purchased, and then how the product was used,” he said.
Illinois public health officials declined to give any information about the person who died, other than that the person was an adult. Twenty-two cases have been confirmed in that state, with an additional 12 under investigation.
The patients range in age from 17 to 38, and the majority of cases have been men, said Dr. Jennifer Layden, chief medical officer and state epidemiologist at the Illinois Department of Public Health, during a call with reporters.
Many patients have complained of symptoms including shortness of breath, fatigue, and cough. Others have reported vomiting and diarrhea, according to the Illinois health department. Symptoms usually worsened before the person went to the hospital.
In Colorado, the state health department confirmed that at least one person has a severe lung illness linked to vaping, according to the Denver Post. That is the first confirmed case in the state.
In Minnesota, the chief medical officer for Children’s Minnesota, a pediatric health system, previously told NBC News that four teenagers were hospitalized with what doctors initially believed was a bad respiratory infection, like pneumonia, but their symptoms worsened.
The medical officer said the patients were having lung issues and some needed assistance with their breathing.
The Minnesota Department of Health said in a press release on Thursday that the state has 15 possible cases of severe lung illnesses related to vaping. Not all of the cases have been confirmed and some remain under investigation, the agency said.
In Wisconsin, a 26-year-old man started to feel ill and was hospitalized after taking a couple of hits from a new vape cartridge. Dylan Nelson of Burlington, Wisconsin, eventually had to be put into a medically induced coma after his lungs started filling with liquid.
He has since been released and is recovering.
His brother, Patrick DeGrave, said that Nelson purchased the cartridge off the street and not from a reputable shop.
“You don’t know if you’re buying something from a middleman that picked it up from a dispensary or if you’re buying it from somebody who has tampered with it and made their own mixture,” he said. “You literally don’t know what you’re inhaling into your body.”