Linked lung injury kills 18, sickens 1080 in US

Linked lung injury kills 18, sickens 1080 in US

Virginia health officials this week announced the first vaping-linked death in the state, bringing the US death toll to 16.

There are more than 1000 confirmed or probable cases of vaping-related lung injury across the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Thursday, including 18 deaths.

The agency is now warning people to avoid use of all vaping products, especially products containing THC.

Last month, the CDC advised people to stop using vaping products, or e-cigarettes, regardless of whether they contain nicotine or marijuana.

Among a group of 578 patients interviewed on substances they had used, 78 percent reported using tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with or without nicotine products; 37 percent reported exclusive use of THC products, and 17 percent said they had only used nicotine-containing products.

A total of 21 serious vaping-related illnesses are now under investigation in Los Angeles County, along with one death, authorities said Thursday. Only Alaska and New Hampshire have yet to report cases.

Dr Brandon Larsen, a surgical pathologist at Mayo Clinic Arizona and a lead author of the study, said the researchers saw "a severe chemical injury" much different from what doctors see in tobacco or marijuana smokers. And among the new cases, about half of the patients were hospitalized within the last two weeks. "The samples show a mix of results and no one substance has been identified in all of the samples tested", she said. She said the number would go up from eight inspectors now to 20.

FDA deputy associate commissioner for regulatory affairs Judy McMeekin also told reporters Thursday that the entity has collected 440 samples and found THC concentration in those samples range from 14% to 76%.

The number of vaping-related illnesses has surpassed 1,000, and there's no sign the outbreak is fading, US health officials said Thursday.

Authorities across the US are working to determine what component of vape pens or cartridges is causing such serious harm to lung function. As the investigation continues, they said those percentages might change.

Schuchat says that the agency cautions against buying products on the street, but added that she can't be certain that products bought at licensed retailers are safe either.

"The data that we're getting does not suggest this has peaked", Schuchat said. So we're not interfering with state regulation.

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