Illinois resident dies after respiratory illness tied to vaping

The Illinois Department of Public Health has reported a person who recently vaped died after being hospitalized with "severe respiratory illness," in what could be the first such case in the U.S.

Case could be 1st death in United States that's associated with vaping

Vaping is now associated with 149 cases of severe respiratory illness, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. (Steve Helber/The Associated Press)

llinois health officials have reported what could be the first death in the United States that has been associated with vaping.

The Illinois Department of Public Health says an adult who recently vaped died after being hospitalized with "severe respiratory illness." The agency didn't give any other information about the patient, including a name or where the person lived.

Melaney Arnold, an agency spokeswoman, says the death is the first in the state that could be linked to vaping. The release also says the number of people who have experienced respiratory illness after vaping doubled to 22 in the past week. 

In a media briefing on Friday, officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 193 cases of severe lung illness have been reported that may be tied to vaping. People have been hospitalized in 22 states since June.

State health officials are asking doctors and hospitals to tell them about any possible vaping-related lung disease cases they encounter.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said federal officials haven't seen any reports of similar severe respiratory illness associated with vaping in this country.

"Right now we haven't seen any reports," Tam said in an interview. "It is a signal we need to watch out for." 

Tam said they're working with their counterparts at the CDC and U.S. Food and Drug Administration to learn more about what the underlining cause of the illnesses might be. 

While it's not yet known whether the U.S. cases are linked to unlicensed, unregulated devices, Tam warned there's no way to know what you're dealing with when using such vaping products. 

Tam said young people who don't smoke should be aware that vaping is not harmless and contains a number of chemical ingredients with unknown long-term effects.

Health Canada's social media messaging campaigns about vaping will continue and they hope to tap into youth influencers as well, she said.

With files from CBC News


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