The number of severe lung disease cases potentially ties to vaping continues to climb quickly.
In a teleconference this afternoon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said is is investigating 193 cases in 22 states, reported between June 28 and August 22.
The Pennsylvania Health Department has 5 cases under investigation, 4 in western Pa., 1 in the central region.
9 cases were reported to the New Jersey Health Department as of last Friday, mostly in the northern part of the Garden State.
The CDC update comes as Illinois reported what may be the first vaping-related lung death.
The Illinois Department of Public Health said in a news release that the patient, who was between 17 and 38 years old, had been hospitalized after falling ill following vaping, though it didn't give other information about the person, including the patient's name, hometown or date of death.
The Illinois agency said in its release that the number of people who contracted a respiratory illness after vaping had doubled in the past week, to 22.
"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," IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in the release. "We requested a team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help us investigate these cases and they arrived in Illinois on Tuesday."
All of the illnesses reported by the CDC were in teens or adults who had used an electronic cigarette or some other kind of vaping device.
Doctors say the illnesses resemble an inhalation injury, with the lungs apparently reacting to a caustic substance.
So far, infectious diseases have been ruled out.
Some patients had been vaping THC, the substance in marijuana that causes high, but that wasn't true in a majority of the sicknesses.
Mitch Zoller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, says testing has begun on samples of vaping devices and products involved with some of the illnesses.
But he, and CDC officials, appealed to citizens, doctors and hospitals to report any possible vaping-related lung disease cases they encounter, and provide as many details as possible.
They can be reported to https://safetyreporting.hhs.gov.
Federal investigators are working on a system to collect and analyze data on devices used, brands, flavors of liquid nicotine, how long people vaped, and how regularly they vaped.
Among the chemicals in some flavors is diacetyl, chemical to blame for so-called "popcorn lung"
Health officials in several states reported their first cases today: two in Connecticut, four in Iowa and six in Ohio that were announced Friday.
CDC now counts 193 cases of vaping-related lung cases in 22 states
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