Health officials issue public health alert about ‘vaping-associated’ lung illness

By August 29, 2019 2 Alaska, Health
lungs illustration

Figure A shows the location of the lungs and airways in the body. Figure B is a detailed view of the lung structures that childhood interstitial lung disease may affect, such as the bronchioles, neuroendocrine cells, alveoli, capillary network, surfactant, and interstitial space. (Public domain illustration by National Health, Lung and Blood Institute)

The state has issued a public health alert about some cases of lung illnesses that could be associated with vaping.

Health officials have logged 193 potential cases — including one fatality — across 22 states. The cases were reported between June 28 and Aug. 20.

An illness being associated with vaping doesn’t necessarily mean vaping caused the illnesses, just that it’s a common thread among all the patients. Health officials have not identified a specific product or device common to all the cases. State and federal health officials are investigating.

No cases have been reported in Alaska, but state officials want health care providers to report respiratory illness cases among people reporting recent inhaled drug use to state epidemiologists.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says symptoms included cough, shortness of breath and fatigue.

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