Public health officials with the Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency in California have reported the seventh death linked to the unnamed lung condition impacting hundreds of people who had a history of recent vape use. The death impacted an adult over the age of 40, according to an announcement from the county, which says this was related to electronic cigarette use.
In a statement, Tulare County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Haught said, ‘With sadness, we report that there has been a death of a Tulare County resident suspected to be related to severe pulmonary injury associated with vaping.’ The county has experienced three reports of lung injury believed to be the result of vaping, officials state.
The symptoms of these cases are similar to that of other cases, including things like fever and diarrhea in addition to lung-related issues like trouble breathing and chest pain. Local, state, and federal health officials have warned that the symptoms seen in these cases are progressive, often getting worse over a number of days or weeks before the sufferer seeks help. In many cases, patients have been hospitalized and required the use of a ventilator to breathe.
The CDC’s most recent update on the matter revealed 380 confirmed cases of this vaping-related lung injury, which is described as severe and, in some cases, causing what may be irreversible damage to the patient’s lungs. A number of teenagers and young adults have been impacted, but some older adults have also been confirmed in cases, as well as in at least one other death.
The long-term consequences of this illness, as well as the cause of it, remain unknown. The CDC and FDA are both assisting local and state health agencies with investigating the matter, including testing samples from vaping products acquired from patients. No single common factor has been found that links all of the cases, which involve reports of use of both nicotine and THC vapes.