Confirmed case of sudden and severe lung illness tied to vaping in Colorado

Photo courtesy: vaping360.com/e-cigarettes/ (Vaping360) / CC BY 2.0
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DENVER (KKTV) - State health officials in Colorado are reporting there is one confirmed case and three suspected cases of sudden and severe lung illness tied to vaping.

At least one person has been hospitalized. All the cases involve patients living in the Front Range area. The confirmed case is described only as a "young adult" while all the suspected cases are adult.

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

One case was reported on Aug. 20 and the other on Aug. 22. The Aug. 22 case has not been confirmed.

Symptoms of sudden and severe lung illness include:

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

Officials with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment ask people who vape and currently have a lung illness or may have had one in the past three months should contact their doctor or local health department.

On Friday, the state health department clarified what a "confirmed case" means stating, "it meets all the criteria for the definition being used nationally and that exposure to vaping products was most likely the cause of the illness based on the review."

With the confirmed case in Colorado, the state health department did not specify the type of vaping liquid or oil that may have been used by the patient.

The Centers for Disease Control recently reported multiple states are investigating severe pulmonary disease among people who use e-cigarettes. On Wednesday the CDC reported more than 149 possible cases of severe lung illness associated with e-cigarette product use were reported by 15 states. The CDC is reporting they have not identified a cause, but all reported cases have e-cigarette product use or "vaping."