3 More Hospitalized In Connecticut For Lung Disease Linked To Vaping | Connecticut Public Radio
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3 More Hospitalized In Connecticut For Lung Disease Linked To Vaping

Sep 6, 2019

Three more Connecticut residents were hospitalized for severe lung disease that is possibly related to vaping.

The announcement Friday by the state Department of Public Health brings the total number of cases to five people. State officials are working with federal agencies including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate a surge of severe respiratory illnesses across the country.

Three more Connecticut residents were hospitalized for severe lung disease that is possibly linked to vaping.

The announcement Friday by the state Department of Public Health brings the total number of cases to five people. State officials are working with federal agencies including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate a surge of severe respiratory illnesses across the country.

The Connecticut patients all became ill in July and August with symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. All patients reported using e-cigarette or vapor products for tobacco or cannabis substances, according to DPH.

The patients have since been released from the hospital after getting treatment.

“These illnesses are very concerning because the use of e-cigarette products is increasing in our state and nationally, particularly among our youth,” DPH Commissioner Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell said in a statement.

CDC officials announced during a teleconference Friday that the agency is investigating more than 450 possible cases in 33 states of severe pulmonary disease related to the use of e-cigarettes. They also said a third person has died and a fourth death is under investigation.

Public health officials and doctors have not yet identified any one specific product as the cause of the illnesses, but Ileana Arias, principal deputy director for CDC, said "while we don't have all the answers yet, we are getting clearer about things that we should be looking at to understand the situation."

Arias said the focus of the investigation is narrowing, but health officials still face "complex questions" in the outbreak that will take time to answer.

Meanwhile, health officials in New York this week said they have it narrowed down to a compound called vitamin E acetate.

The compound isn’t normally found in state-approved medical marijuana vaping products nor was it found in nicotine-based products during testing, leading investigators to conclude that these products were purchased on the “black market,” according to a New York Department of Health news release.

New York’s investigation found that vitamin E acetate has been linked to products that each hospitalized patient has used, but more testing is needed to confirm the health effects of the compound when inhaled.

"While the investigation is ongoing, CDC has advised that individuals consider not using e-cigarettes," Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman, of CDC, told reporters Friday, "because, as of now, this is the primary means of preventing this severe lung disease."

In Connecticut, Coleman-Mitchell said anyone who has been vaping and experiencing respiratory issues should get medical care “because illnesses can become more severe without proper treatment.”

This story has been updated.