The Southern Nevada Health District has confirmed a fourth case of severe respiratory illness linked to e-cigarettes in a Clark County resident.
The new case is in a person over the age of 18. The health district previously has reported two other cases in people over 18 and one in a person under the age of 18.
Three of the individuals reported using tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) products, the ingredient in marijuana that creates the high. Two of the four also reported cannabinoid (CBD) oils; CBD is another marijuana component.
All of the individuals reported purchasing or acquiring their products from different sources, including friends, retail outlets, and through online purchases. Nicotine e-cigarette products can be purchased at vape shops or online, while products with THC can be legally purchased in Nevada from marijuana dispensaries.
Nearly 1,300 cases
The Clark County cases are part of what federal and local health authorities describe as an outbreak of serious health disease linked to e-cigarettes. As of Oct. 8, 1,299 lung injury cases associated with the use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 49 states, the District of Columbia, and one U.S. territory. Twenty-six deaths have been confirmed in 21 states.
The CDC reports that THC-containing products obtained off the street or from other informal sources are linked to most of the cases, but says that the use of nicotine-containing products in the outbreak cannot be excluded as a potential factor. Some patients report the use of nicotine products only, and many patients report the use of THC products and nicotine products.
The health district submitted product samples from two of the four individuals to the federal Food and Drug Administration. Analysis results are pending. In addition, product samples have been collected from the most current case and will be submitted.
“This outbreak is an ongoing concern, and the health district continues to recommend that people refrain from using any e-cigarette or vaping products,” said Dr. Fermin Leguen, acting chief health officer for the Southern Nevada Health District.
When an individual vapes, a battery-powered electronic cigarette delivers an aerosol by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavoring and other chemicals. Vape customers can select both a flavor and level of nicotine, if any, in their product.
The health district further recommends these products never be used by youth, young adults, pregnant women, and people who do not currently use tobacco products. The district recommends that people who currently use tobacco products who wish to quit smoking use FDA-approved therapies.
Symptoms to watch for
Symptoms associated with the reported illnesses include:
— Respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain)
— Gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea)
— Non-specific symptoms (fatigue, fever, or weight loss)
The health district advises people who use e-cigarettes and experience any of these symptoms to seek medical care right away. People seeking help quitting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, can contact the Nevada Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-Quit-Now or 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569) from a Nevada area code.
The health district also encourages anyone who used e-cigarettes or vaping products in the last 90 days and developed a severe respiratory illness not associated with other viral infections, such as the flu or a bacterial infection, to contact their health care provider to report the illness to the Southern Nevada Health District’s Office of Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance, (702) 759-1300.