The CDC updated its numbers on the vaping lung disease EVALI in a release this week, revealing that the number of cases has risen to 1,888 in the United States. These are a mixture of confirmed and probable cases, according to the agency, which says that patients have been identified in 49 states as of October 29. Unfortunately, the number of deaths has also increased.
As of October 29, the date the CDC published its most recent update, the number of deaths linked to the use of vaping devices had increased to 37. These deaths were confirmed in 24 states. All of these patients were diagnosed with EVALI, the term the CDC is using to refer to the lung injury disease outbreak linked to the use of vaping products.
Though officials haven’t yet found a single reason for the illness, it increasingly appears to be linked to the use of homemade THC vaping oils. The CDC reports that the majority of vaping samples acquired from patients tested positive for THC and that most patients reported a history of vaping the compound, which is sourced from marijuana.
At this point in time, officials with the CDC and FDA say that THC is believed to “play a major role” in the ongoing EVALI outbreak. However, no specific ingredient or element has been linked to all of these cases and officials haven’t yet declared a cause of the condition. At this time, the CDC is warning the public to avoid all vaping products that contain THC.
In addition, officials are warning the public to avoid ‘street’ vapes, which are vaping liquids and oils that are made at home or otherwise sold through unofficial sources. As well, buyers are advised to avoid modifying legit vaping products purchased from stores, such as by adding ingredients to the list. Until a specific cause is identified, however, the only guaranteed way to prevent the disease is to stop vaping.