Related illnesses increase to 530, CDC says

Kenzo Tribouillard  AFP  Getty Images

Kenzo Tribouillard AFP Getty Images

The FDA has collected more than 150 samples from patients across the country and is now analyzing them for the presence of cutting agents and other substances. "There's no one compound ingredient constituent including vitamin E acetate that is showing up in all of the samples". The deaths were reported in California (2), Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, and Oregon.

Still, health officials said they haven't found a definitive cause or a clear connection between cases, and they warned that patients anxious about becoming ill from vaping should refrain from using e-cigarettes. No one cause or set of causes has been linked to all of the cases, the CDC reported.

Schuchat said three-quarters of the cases are male, and two-thirds are between the ages of 18 and 34, while 16% are under the age of 18. CDC hasn't said when most people got sick.

Mitch Zeller, director of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Tobacco Products, also revealed that the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations has been involved in trying to determine what is sickening people who use e-cigarettes.

IL has reported an eighth death related to the outbreak, state epidemiologist Jennifer Layden said on a conference call with reporters.

Some of the hospitalized patients reported using bootleg e-cigarette liquids that they purchased on the street, prompting the health agency to warn Americans against these products.

Identifying compounds is only "one piece of the puzzle and will not necessarily answer questions about causality", he said. But health officials emphasized Thursday that not all people who became ill had used THC, and many had used multiple substances. Regardless of the investigation, youths, young adults, pregnant women and adults who don't now use tobacco products should not use them, Dr. Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director of the CDC, said during the briefing.

"The e-cigarette and vaping-related lung injuries are serious". What's more, "if you recently used an e-cigarette or vaping product and you have symptoms like those reported in this outbreak, we recommend you see a health care provider as soon as possible". Those who continue should monitor themselves for symptoms such as breathing issues, dry cough or chest pain, and in some cases diarrhea, vomiting and fever, and should not hesitate to seek help from their doctors.

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