TOPEKA, Ks. (PM) — Kansas health officials have established the first death in the state connected to an outbreak of dangerous lung disease related to vaping or using e-cigarettes. This becomes the sixth related death to lung disease linked to vaping in the United States this year.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment stated in a release Tuesday that the recent death was a Kansas resident over the age of 50. The person’s identity has not been released.
“According to Kansas State Epidemiologist Dr. Farah Ahmed, the patient had a history of underlying health issues and was hospitalized with symptoms that progressed rapidly,” the release said.
Officials have now identified about 450 possible cases, including as many as six deaths, in 33 states.
A national investigation has not classified specific vaping or e-cigarette products associated with all cases. Many patients report using vaping or e-cigarette products with liquids that contain cannabinoid products, such as tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC.
Kansas health officials don’t have detailed information on what types of products were used by the person who died.
“Our sympathies go out to the family of the person who died,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Health officials are working hard to determine a cause and share information to prevent additional injuries. As that work continues, I urge Kansans to be careful. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way, and please follow the recommendations of public health officials.”
To date, Kansas has six reports associated with the outbreak. Three patients have been classified as confirmed or probable cases and three cases are still under investigation.
The CDC is urging people to avoid vaping or using e-cigarettes. Also, people with a history of vaping who are experiencing lung injury symptoms should seek medical care immediately.
Symptoms amongst cases included shortness of breath, fever, cough, vomiting, and diarrhea. Other symptoms related by some patients included headache, dizziness and chest pain.