US investigation into severe lung disease associated with vaping continues

03 September 2019

Article: 53/3508

In the US, the investigation into an outbreak of severe lung disease linked to the use of vaping, or e-cigarette, products is continuing. The investigation is being undertaken by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The outbreak was previously reported (see CN 53/3406). Since August 27 2019, the number of potential cases has risen to 215, in 25 US states. Some additional reports of pulmonary illness are being investigated. One patient with a history of recent e-cigarette use was hospitalised with severe pulmonary disease and has died.

Epidemiologic investigations in affected states are ongoing to characterise the exposures, demographic, clinical, and laboratory features and behaviour of patients. All patients have reported using vaping, or e-cigarette, products.

Some of the symptoms reported by patients include respiratory symptoms including cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain and some have also experienced gastrointestinal symptoms including nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea, or non-specific constitutional symptoms like fatigue, fever, or weight loss.

Gastrointestinal symptoms have sometimes preceded respiratory symptoms. Fever, tachycardia, and elevated white blood cell count have been reported in the absence of an identifiable infectious disease.

More information on the outbreak can be found at the CDC website. It should be noted that recommendations given on the site are specifically for US clinicians as the outbreak is currently confined to that country.