First Case Of Vaping-Linked Breathing Disease Confirmed In Colorado

August 22, 2019
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Update 8/29: On Thursday, state health officials confirmed a second case of the vaping-linked breathing disease. The patient is a young adult on the Front Range.


State health officials confirmed Thursday that at least one person has developed a severe lung illness that has been linked to vaping e-cigarettes.

State health officials say they're also investigating three suspected cases as of Friday.

They'd been on the lookout for cases since other states began reporting similar cases. There about 150 possible cases in 15 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No deaths have been reported.

The patient whose case has been confirmed is on the Front Range and is college aged, according to the health department.  The three suspect cases are all adults and also all on the Front Range.  The state's chief medical officer Tista Ghosh said the state is likely to see more cases.   "I'm not surprised that something is coming up.  I"m surprised that it's happening at this scale," she said. "I'm concerned that it's coming to Colorado because we have such a teen vaping rate and young adult vaping rate.  I'm worried that many people will get sick."

Symptoms include trouble breathing, chest pain, cough, fatigue and fever.

Health officials are not yet sure what exactly is causing the disease. Cases in other states have not been linked to a single device.

"We are not yet sure," said Ghosh. "The agents causing this illness could possibly be pesticide contamination, residual solvent contamination, additives with unknown inhalation effects, or heavy metals contamination being inhaled from vaping products."

Ghosh said the devices are poorly regulated and "may contain or generate chemicals that are not safe to breathe."

Health officials urged patients who vape and have recently experienced a lung disease or similar symptoms to check in with their doctor or local health department. They also said to be cautious in using or sharing vape devices.