Illinois resident dies after being hospitalized with respiratory illness after vaping, health officials say

CHICAGO -- An Illinois resident who recently vaped has died after being hospitalized with a severe respiratory illness, the Illinois Department of Public Health said.

The person's identity was not immediately released and details surrounding the death remain unclear.

This death follows multiple hospitalizations potentially linked to vaping and warnings from health officials.

So far this year a total of 22 people, ranging in age from 17 to 38 years old, have "experienced respiratory illness after using e-cigarettes or vaping," IDH said.

IDH said they are also investigating an additional 12 cases.

"The severity of illness people are experiencing is alarming, and we must get the word out that using e-cigarettes and vaping can be dangerous," said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. "We requested a team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help us investigate these cases and they arrived in Illinois on Tuesday."

The state health departments in New York and New Jersey issued alerts for people who vape. In New Jersey, there have been nine cases of severe lung illnesses reported in patients who vape and 11 in New York.

Nationwide, the CDC is investigating 94 cases. And the numbers could grow as medical providers are encouraged to report similar problems with their patients.

Symptoms of the respiratory illness include cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Some patients also said they experienced vomiting and diarrhea.

According to the IDPH, the CDC said they have found that several patients have acknowledged to health care personnel that they used THC-containing products.

No specific product has been identified in all cases, nor has any product been conclusively linked to illnesses. Even though cases appear similar, it is not clear if these cases have a common cause or if they are different diseases with similar symptoms.

Health officials urge anyone experiencing chest pain or difficulty breathing after using e-cigarettes or vaping in the weeks or months prior to seek medical attention.

For more information about e-cigarettes and vapes visit the IDPH website.

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