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On Sep. 25, I blogged about the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) investigation of eight vaping-related deaths and 530 illness cases across 38 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Now, just three weeks later, the case count has risen to over 1,300, with 49 states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands all reporting at least one illness. The only state that has yet to report a vaping-related illness is Alaska. The death toll has more than tripled in the same three week span, rising from eight to 30 (note: the CDC has only confirmed 26 of these deaths.)

Vaping-related lung disease has become so widespread that the CDC officially gave the illness a name: e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury, or EVALI. Even so, health officials have still been unable to identify the reason or reasons behind the outbreak. While a majority of EVALI patients report using THC-containing vaping products, other have used CBD and nicotine-containing products. This has led Food & Drug Administration Commissioner Ned Sharpless to speculate that there may be “more than one cause for this outbreak.” Since a cause has not been pinpointed, federal and state health officials continue to advise Americans to avoid vaping until more is known.

With the start of flu season, it may be even harder to identify cases, as the flu, pneumonia and EVALI all present similar symptoms. Overlapping symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Chills
  • Coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Weight loss

Clinicians are urged to recognize that individuals presenting these symptoms could have a lung injury, a vaping-related infection or both.

The epidemic shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat revealed on Oct. 16 that the CDC expects the case number to rise considerably before the agency releases its next updated case report. She added that the outbreak “is extremely complicated and difficult. It’s fatal or potentially fatal, with half of the cases requiring intensive care.”

If you or a loved one developed lung disease after vaping, contact the experienced personal injury and product liability lawyers at Paulson & Nace, PLLC today at (202) 930-0292 or through our online contact form to discuss your legal options.

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