DALLAS — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention held a briefing Friday and released the latest information regarding the recent illnesses that could be linked to vaping.
Information from the briefing:
- The CDC is now aware of 450 possible cases of lung disease in 33 states. This is more than double the number the CDC was looking into just two weeks ago.
- The CDC is aware of three deaths linked to lung disease. A fourth death is under investigation.
- The deaths are in Illinois, Oregon (this death was in July) and Indiana.
- The CDC believes a chemical exposure is likely associated with the illnesses, but they need more time, testing and information to determine exactly which chemical it is.
- No single device, product or substance have been identified.
- The CDC continues to say people should consider not vaping or using any sort of e-cigarette device.
- Many of the patients reported using THC. Some reported using both THC and nicotine and a few reported using nicotine alone.
Who is becoming ill?
Illinois and Wisconsin released joint research focused on 53 patients in their two states: The majority of these 53 cases are healthy, young – median age is 19 and majority are men.
Of those 53 cases, 98% of them were hospitalized and of those hospitalized, 32% needed ventilator. Officials say all patients used e-cigs in last 90 days.
"What we have found so far is that the majority of people who have become ill are generally healthy, are young, with a median age of 19 years and the majority have been men," said Dr. Jennifer Layden, Chief Medical Officer with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Is it a spike in illness, increased awareness among clinicians or more people vaping/smoking e-cigs?
Officials say it's hard to know with certainty but preliminary data shows a spike in cases, so this suggests the illnesses are a new phenomenon. The data is only as good as the information given to them by patients – so it’s possible more of these cases involved THC, but the patients aren’t being forthcoming with that information.
“With these increasing reports, if you’re thinking of purchasing one of these products off the street, out of the back of a car, out of an alley or if you’re going to go home and modify it yourself using something you purchased from a third party or got from a friend, think twice," said Mitch Zellar, Director of the FDA Center for Tobacco Products.
The FDA and CDC is asking people to report suspected cases here.
Related coverage on WFAA:
- 'Momma, I'm scared': Vaping suspected in illness that's left man on life support, family says
- Lots of teens are vaping THC and if they bring it to school in Texas, it's a felony
- Health officials investigating 215 cases of lung disease possibly linked to vaping
- Richardson ISD confiscated 200 e-cigs, expelled 23 students in vaping cases last school year
- CDC addresses recent surge of lung illnesses potentially related to vaping
- North Texas school districts waging education campaigns against e-cigs and vaping
- Illinois patient's death may be first in US tied to vaping
- Vaping caused North Texas teen's lungs to fail, doctors say