3 vaping-related illnesses reported in Virginia as US case count nears 200
- Virginia is the latest state to confirm cases of severe lung illnesses linked to vaping
- Three patients have been added to the nation’s list of nearly 200 sickened by e-cigarettes and state officials say they are investigating more
- At least 22 US states report vaping-related illnesses
- One person has died of severe lung damage suspected to be linked to vaping
Virginia health officials suspect that at least three people’s severe lung illnesses are linked to vaping, they announced Monday.
On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that at least 193 people in 22 states have developed severe lung damage as as result of vaping.
Now, Virginia joins the growing list of places where vaping has likely sickened Americans.
E-cigarettes have been on the market for about a decade – which isn’t much time in the research world – and their health effects are not well understood.
But in recent weeks, states in the Midwest started reporting lung failures in unusually young patients, including teenagers, who shared in common e-cigarette use.
Last week, health officials said one death was suspected to be linked to vaping, and more and more states are investigating scores of teenage and young adult e-cigarette users left hospitalized, in comas or on life support.
Three people in Virginia have been hospitalized with lung illnesses that officials suspect are triggered by vaping, bringing the total such US cases to nearly 200 (file)
‘Virginia is reporting three cases, and is investigating additional potential cases,’ the state health department said in a statement.
‘All patients have reported vaping in the weeks to months prior to illness.’
Other states began investigating similar illnesses as far back as June.
Earlier this month, the CDC announced that it would partner with these state health departments and investigate the vaping-related illnesses at that national level.
Almost daily, new cases have cropped over up over the course of the last few weeks.
Not all, but many, patients are teenagers or young adults.
Even in heavy smokers, signs of lung disease and cancer don’t typically begin to appear until around age 40 or after.
Now, people who are too young to vote, but are vaping, have been turning up at hospitals with coughs, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and shortness of breath.
Some are sent away with antibiotics, but many others have been admitted to hospitals where they test negative for the likely suspects – bacterial and viral infections – but keep getting sicker.
The patients with the most damaged lungs are often put into medically induced comas while on respirators in the hopes of giving their lungs a chance to rest and recover.
Scientists aren’t sure exactly what e-cigarette are doing to lungs to cause such serious distress to lungs.
The research so far is fairly thin, but studies suggest that vapor from e-cigs may cause lung inflammation which in turn triggers tissue damage.
Other study found COPD-linked proteins in the throats of people who used e-cigarettes.
The Virginia cases will add to the body of evidence that the CDC will examine for possible commonalities and causes of the nearly 200 cases of lung illness and failures among people who vape.