(HealthDay News) — More than 1600 Americans have now been struck by a severe, sometimes fatal, lung illness tied to vaping, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.
The 1604 cases have occurred in every state except Alaska, the agency said. The related death toll has also risen to 34 fatalities, spread across 24 states. Deaths have involved patients ranging from the ages of 17 to 75 years, with the average age being 49.
No new data on possible factors driving these illnesses were released in the new report. However, last week, the CDC noted that 78 percent of cases involved products that contained tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Anne Schuchat, MD, principal deputy director of the CDC, has stressed that nicotine-containing vaping products without THC cannot be ruled out as a potential cause of harm. Because of that, the CDC recommendation for everyone to stop vaping still stands, she said in a recent media briefing.
What is clear is that the illnesses that are affecting vapers can be sudden and severe. Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, and chest pains. Many patients have required supplemental oxygen, and in extreme cases, patients required assisted ventilation and oxygenation or were intubated.