State health agency issues warning about e-cig products

DOVER — The Division of Public Health is warning Delawareans to be cognizant of a recent outbreak of pulmonary disease believe to be tied to e-cigarettes. DPH is participating in a multi-state review of the issue and is investigating three possible cases among Delaware residents.

As of Friday, there were more than 450 possible cases of lung illness associated with the use of e-cigarette products being investigated nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.

Five deaths related to this outbreak have been confirmed.
“The rising number of lung illnesses across the country that are associated with the use of e-cigarette products is incredibly alarming,” DPH Director Karyl Rattay said in a statement.

“We strongly encourage individuals, especially youth, to avoid using e-cigarette products. I cannot stress this point strongly enough — these illnesses can be life-threatening.”

According to the CDC, which launched its investigation Aug. 1 and has worked closely with other federal and state agencies since, the aerosol used in e-cigarettes contains harmful substances like nicotine, lead products and cancer-causing agents.

No evidence of infectious diseases has been identified in these patients, meaning lung illnesses are likely associated with a chemical exposure.

The investigation has not yet identified any specific substance or e-cigarette product that is linked to all cases, although many patients report using e-cigarette products with liquids that contain cannabinoid products, such as THC.

Based on reports from several states, patients have experienced respiratory symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath or chest pain and, for some, gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea or non-specific symptoms such as fatigue, fever or weight loss.

Symptoms typically develop over a period of days but sometimes can manifest over several weeks.
While the investigation is ongoing, DPH strongly urges individuals not to use e-cigarette products.

Those who do use e-cigs should monitor themselves for symptoms and seek medical attention for any health concerns.
Anyone concerned about his or her health after using an e-cigarette product should contact his or her health care provider or the local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

DPH recently issued a health alert to Delaware medical providers advising them of the CDC outbreak investigation and providing guidance for reporting possible cases. Clinicians should report cases of significant respiratory illness of unclear etiology and a history of vaping to the DPH Bureau of Epidemiology (24/7) at 1-888-295-5156.

Health care providers should also ask all patients who report e-cigarette product use within the last 90 days about signs and symptoms of pulmonary illness.

For more information and updates on the CDC’s multi-state investigation, go to

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