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First case of vaping-related lung illness confirmed in Colorado, state health officials say

Three other suspected cases not yet confirmed
Posted at 9:36 PM, Aug 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-23 22:38:47-04

DENVER – State health officials on Thursday confirmed the first case of sudden and severe lung illness tied to vaping that has sent at least one person to the hospital.

The Colorado case is just one of 120 others reported in 15 states across the nation, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) officials said in a news release. The confirmed case was reported to health officials on Tuesday.

On Friday, CDPHE said that in addition to the one confirmed case, there are three suspected cases of the illness that health officials are looking in to.

The cases of sudden and severe lung illness appear to be linked to e-cigarettes and other vaping liquids or oils that contained either nicotine, marijuana, CBD, synthetic marijuana, or a combination of these, a CDPHE official said in the release.

“This is a serious situation, and people who vape should be on high alert, as should medical providers treating patients who vape,” said CDPHE’s chief medical officer Dr. Tista Ghosh. “Since the department has been actively notifying providers and hospitals of the symptoms, we expect we may get more reported cases.”

Health officials note Colorado is among the states with an “unusually high” rate of teen and young adult vaping, and advised clinicians, parents and those who vape to be aware of the vaping-related illness and its symptoms, which include:

  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Possible fever

They also advised those who vape or who currently have lung illness or who may have had it in the past three months, to contact their doctor or local health department.

The agents causing sudden and severe illness could possibly be pesticide contamination, residual solvent contamination, additives with unknown inhalation effects, or heavy metals contamination inhaled from vaping products, health officials said in the news release.

If you suspect you may be suffering from this illness, you’re asked to contact CDPHe’s Disease Reporting Line at (303) 692-2700 or (303) 370-9395, if you’re calling after hours. CDPHE personnel will conduct a medical record review and contact the patients to administer a thorough investigation questionnaire.