This is the first such death reported in the United States. In August 2019, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) announced the first tragic death following an epidemic of severe pulmonary disease that has occurred among users of electronic cigarette, also termed e-cigarette.
According to the CDC, 153 possible cases of pulmonary illness associated with e-cigarette product use, in brief vaping, have been reported in July and August 2019. The affected patients sought medical care for symptoms, such as cough, fatigue, and shortness of breath that progressively increased over days or weeks, eventually leading to the patients’ hospitalization. Other patients complained of fever, diarrhea, nausea, or thoracic pain, according to the CDC.
Chest radiographs performed upon patients’ admission revealed bilateral opacities, with diffuse ground-glass opacities in most cases. In general, sub-pleural spaces were spared. For almost all patients, an infectious origin could be excluded.
While the exact cause of this pulmonary illness is still unclear, the condition appears to be related to the liquid of the e-cigarette. In the same context, it must be noted that neurological symptoms, including epileptic seizures, have been reported in 127 cases of e-cigarette users. Last April, the Food and Drug Administration dispatched a warning message about this effect to all healthcare professionals.
Reference: CDC investigating surge of vaping-linked respiratory illness – Medscape – Aug 21, 2019.