Friday 18 October 2019

13-year-old is the youngest of 33 Americans killed by vaping as the number suffering the mysterious e-cigarette lung illness nears 1,500

Nearly 15,000 Americans have developed a life-threatening lung illnesses now called 'EVALI,' the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported Thursday.
And 33 people have died of the still-mysterious disease. 
US health investigators are still unsure what causes EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung illness), but 78 percent of patients have now reported using products that contain THC. 
Only 10 percent of patients said they had only vaped nicotine, but health officials say they still cannot rule out the substance as a potential trigger for EVALI.  
So far, the illnesses have primarily struck young people - nearly 80 percent of patients are under 35 - and the victims are getting younger. 
A 13-year-old has become the youngest person to die of vaping-linked illness, underscoring the outsize and devastating effects e-cigarettes are having on American youth as US officials try to keep kids away from them.
People have died of vaping-related illness 24 states (red), the CDC reported Thursday as the death toll climbed to 33 people. The youngest victim was just 13 when they died
People have died of vaping-related illness 24 states (red), the CDC reported Thursday as the death toll climbed to 33 people. The youngest victim was just 13 when they died  
The oldest patient sickened is 75, and the two recent deaths reported in Minnesota were in people over 50. Vaping illnesses can strike anyone.  
But they are still disproportionately striking males, who account for 70 percent of patients. 
There are now cases of EVALI in all but one state in the US. 
But neither CDC nor state officials nor university scientists have been able to work out a definitive cause, but have zeroed in on THC e-cigarettes, most of which are illegally made bootleg products. 
Still, health officials in a Friday media call said they can't rule out the possibility that nicotine vapes could cause illnesses. 
The one upside to the emergence of so many cases of the disease is that health officials finally have enough information to instruct doctors to use imaging to detect the 'disease.
The newly-coined name stands for 'e-cigarette- and vaping-associated illnesses' and describes the lung injuries that almost always begin with a cough or shortness of breath and many feel sick to their stomachs and vomit. 
As they've gathered this information, two new concerns have emerged. Some patients are being readmitted with respiratory problem, and, with flu and cold season ramping up, officials warn doctors may have to treat for both.    
All but five percent of patients initially had coughs or shortness of breath, and 77 percent had gastrointestinal problems, like diarrhea, stomach pain and nausea, officials said in last week's call. 
Almost half of the confirmed patients wound up in the ICU, and more than 20 percent of those patients had to be put on ventilators to breathe for them. 
The vast majority of patients were started on steroids, and most of those improved. 
'We don't know how many might have improved without corticosteroids, or if there are negative consequences [of steroids] like worsening infection risks,' said Dr Anna Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of the CDC on Friday. 
Nonetheless, the agency advises doctors 'consider' starting patients on steroids.  
The vast majority of the patients - 76 percent - sickened by vaping used THC products, while only 13 percent said they'd used exclusively nicotine vapes. 
Investigators are currently focusing on THC e-cigarette products, which are often illegal, adulterated nicotine pods or juices.  
In early testing of e-cigarette cartridges and juices, scientists found concentrations between 13 and 77 percent THC in samples that contained the psychoactive compound. 
Despite recent biopsy research suggesting it's toxins, not necessarily oil, that's damaging EVALI patients' lungs, US officials are still testing or the previously-suspected vitamin E acetate. 
They found the the vitamin derivative in nearly half (47 percent) of the samples, at concentrations ranging from 23 and 88 percent. 
They're also testing e-cigarettes for metals, pesticides and other potential contaminants. 
'We're going to leave no stone un-turned, but we agree it may well be that there is no  
One additional death has been reported each in Texas and Utah, and California and Georgia, bringing their respective death tolls to three and two. 
Of the 1,299 people sickened, 80 percent are teenagers or adults under 35.
It's an alarming statistic that that fans driving a series of state attempts to keep the devices out of teens' hands.  
It's unclear how many of the sickened teenagers used THC, but 15 percent of the total illnesses reported are among people under 18.
Just over 20 percent of the victims are between 18 and 20, 18 percent are between 21 and 24, 26 percent are in the 25 to 34 range, and 20 percent fall in the oldest bracket, over 35. 
For reasons that remain unclear, the lung illnesses have primarily stricken men, who account for 70 percent of the patients, according to the CDC.  
Although President Trump announced plans to ban e-cigarettes last month, the federal government has yet to act to stop the steady stream of vaping-related illnesses and death spanning the US. 
One person has now died of vaping in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah. 
Three people have died in California and two in each Oregon, Georgia and Kansas. 

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