Three additional Connecticut residents have been hospitalized with a severe lung disease that could be linked to vaping or vaping products, the state’s department of public health said Friday.
Altogether, the state has logged five cases of the illness. All of the patients became sick in July and August and have since been released from the hospital, the department said.
Connecticut health officials are investigating the disease with the help of federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Nationally, more than 450 cases of the illness have been reported in 33 states. Four people have died so far, with the most recent fatalities in Indiana and Minnesota.
The patients have complained of similar symptoms, including cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, vomiting and fever. Many were hospitalized and required intensive treatment. They reported using vaping products and cannabis substances, though investigators have not identified a single product present in all cases.
“These illnesses are very concerning because the use of e-cigarette products is increasing in our state and nationally, particularly among our youth,” State Health Commissioner Renée Coleman-Mitchell said in a statement. “Some people might not be aware of the health risks associated with using these products. Anyone who has used e-cigarette products and experiences respiratory issues should seek medical care promptly.”
The CDC has recommended that children, young adults and pregnant women refrain from using vaping products. It advised others against buying materials off of the street, and said users should not modify or add new substances to the products.
The first case of the illness, in Illinois, was reported in April, indicating that the syndrome emerged earlier than the mid-June date that federal officials have often cited as the time the afflictions began, the New York Times reported.