A person in Illinois who vaped has died after being hospitalized with severe respiratory illness, the state’s health authorities said on Aug. 23, amid reports that dozens of people had been sickened with lung problems linked to vaping.
The individual’s gender and age and when he or she died were not immediately disclosed by the Illinois Department of Public Health. It said those hospitalized were aged 17 to 38 and that symptoms included coughing, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Some also suffered vomiting and diarrhea.
“The severity of illness people are experiencing is alarming and we must get the word out that using e-cigarettes and vaping can be dangerous,” Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. A team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) arrived in Illinois on in late August to help the department investigate the cases, Ezike added.
The number of cases had risen to 215 as of Aug. 27.
“While some cases in each of the states are similar and appear to be linked to e-cigarette product use, more information is needed to determine what is causing the respiratory illnesses,” the U.S. CDC and the Food and Drug Administration said in a joint statement.
The health agencies reiterated that in some cases, patients acknowledged the use of e-cigarettes containing tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component of cannabis.
Additional reports of pulmonary illness are also under investigation.