Delaware: One Death From Lung Injury Believed to be Associated W - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Announces State's First Vaping-related Death

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(Photo: MGN Online) (Photo: MGN Online)

DOVER, Del.- A person in Delaware has died from a lung injury believed to be associated with vaping, the Delaware Division of Public Health announced Thursday.

The death was one of 11 cases of vaping-related lung injury in Delaware, according to DPH.

State health officials would not release any information related to the deceased person, including where they are from and what the cause of death was listed as.

“The Division of Public Health is saddened to announce the first death in Delaware associated with this outbreak,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the individual’s family. This death is a harsh reminder that these illnesses are serious and life-threatening. We continue to recommend that individuals consider refraining from vaping or using e-cigarette products. At this time, no vaping is safe.”

The age range of the individuals involved in the 11 cases is between 15 and 65 years old. The average age of the patients is 29. Eight are New Castle County residents, two are from Kent County, and one is from Sussex County. Eight of the 11 individuals are men and three are women. Ten of the patients reported using products with THC alone or in combination with nicotine e-cigarette products. In one of the 10 cases the use of THC involved vaping medical marijuana. One person reported using e-cigarette products containing nicotine only. There are also two additional cases under investigation. 

The CDC launched its investigation into the lung illnesses on Aug. 1, 2019, and has worked closely since then with the Food and Drug Administration, states and other public health partners, and clinicians to determine the cause. No evidence of infectious diseases has been identified in these patients, therefore 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. Many patients report using e-cigarette products with liquids that contain cannabinoid products, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Based on reports from several states, patients have experienced respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain), and some have also experienced gastrointestinal symptoms (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. Gastrointestinal symptoms sometimes preceded respiratory symptoms. Fever, tachycardia, and elevated white blood cell count have been reported in the absence of an identifiable infectious disease.

DPH is strongly encouraging people not to use e-cigarette products, particularly those containing THC – whether the THC product is legal or illegal. 

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