PEORIA, Ill. – A third person is dead after contracting a vaping-related illness; that’s according to the Illinois Department of Health.
At this point, the agency reports there are 166 cases of vaping-related lung illnesses being treated with nearly 50 more cases being investigated as possibly linked. The ages of people being treated range between 13 and 75 years old, with a median age of 22.
While the majority of cases are centered around the Chicago area, Central Illinois has more than 20 cases according to IDPH.
“The unfortunate death of a third Illinois resident underscores the seriousness of these lung injuries,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “New cases continue to be reported in Illinois and across the country. IDPH is urging Illinoisans not to vape or use e-cigarettes products, especially illicit THC based products, while we continue to investigate this outbreak.”
The IDPH also notes: “At this time, no single compound or ingredient used in e-cigarette, or vaping products has been identified as the cause of this outbreak. The latest national and state findings suggest products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), particularly those obtained off the street or from other informal sources (e.g. friends, family members, illicit dealers), are linked to most of the cases and play a major role in the outbreak. More than 80% of the cases in Illinois report recent use of THC-containing products, primarily obtaining them from informal sources. Additionally, almost half of the cases in Illinois have also used nicotine-based products.”
Symptoms of this lung illness include cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue; people may also experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. In many cases, symptoms get worse over a period of days or weeks.