State: 9 vapers diagnosed with ‘severe lung disease’
As the CDC issued a warning about 94 cases of severe lung illness nationwide "associated with vaping," the state Department of Health reported 9 people in New Jersey were diagnosed with severe lung illness after using vaping products.
The New Jersey cases were reported mostly in people between the ages of 17 and 35, with no significant past recorded medical history, according to state officials in a written release on Friday, Aug. 16.
The state DOH said it is gathering information "to determine if these cases fit the clinical picture being described by other states."
The state said there are inherent dangers with the use of e-cigarettes and vaping products. "E-cigarettes can contain other harmful substances besides nicotine," the DOH said.
"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 illnesses," according to the CDC in an Aug. 17 update, which also said there is no conclusive evidence that an infectious disease is causing the illnesses.
Nationwide no deaths have been reported, but in at least one state symptoms resulted in hospitalizations lasting multiple weeks, with some patients being admitted to the intensive care unit, according to Minnesota health officials.
Shortness of breath, fever, cough, and vomiting and diarrhea are among common symptoms as described by patients who have been treated. Other patients reported suffering from headache, dizziness, and chest pain.
Some patients around the country have likened onset of the illness to a heart attack, and others to the flu. Doctors say the illnesses resemble an inhalation injury, with the body apparently reacting to a caustic substance that someone breathed in, according to the Associated Press.
No single vaping device or liquid is associated with the illnesses.
New York state health officials released their own warning on Friday, confirming 11 reported cases of lung disease among patients who have used vaping products.
Clinicians around the country are being asked by the CDC to ask their patient what brands and types of products they are using in order to help narrow down a cause of the illnesses.
Vaping has become popular especially with high school and middle school kids. An FDA survey in fall 2018 showed a 78% spike in use with high school students and 48% among middle schoolers.
In December three students in Blairstown were hospitalized after vaping. At the time North Warren Superintendent Sarah Bilotti told the New Jersey Herald the students seemed to exhibit symptoms similar to those from inhaling too much nicotine, seemingly unaccustomed to the drug's effects.
At least 9 New Jersey school districts are using a smart device called HALO which detects vape smoke and vape with THC, and also features advance detection of "regular" smoke, carbon dioxide, propane, methane, light levels and air pressure.
HALO has settings for audio analytics, to detect gunshots, glass breaking, or key words such as "fire," without recording to the device, to avoid privacy issues, Antar said.
Previous reporting by Erin Vogt and material from the Associated Press was used in this report
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