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Health

A second trio of Houston-area teens hospitalized after vaping

National outbreak of youth lung disease linked to vaping continues to expand


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By Shanley Pierce | September 30, 2019

Three additional teens have been hospitalized and diagnosed with vaping-related severe pulmonary disease, Harris County Public Health (HCPH) has confirmed.

Earlier this month, the Houston Health Department announced that at least three Houston teens had landed in the hospital after using tainted e-cigarettes. That trio was linked to a national outbreak of lung illnesses associated with vaping.

“The spike in youth vaping, and vaping-related deaths and lung illness are alarming,” Umair A. Shah, M.D., executive director for Harris County Public Health, said in a Sept. 30, 2019 statement. “That’s why HCPH recommends all community members not use e-cigarette products, until the investigation is concluded.”

This latest local development from Harris County officials means at least six teenagers in greater Houston have had recent vaping illnesses serious enough for inpatient care. Across the country, more than 800 people have been hospitalized and experts believe that the number will continue to climb.

State investigators from Illinois and Wisconsin recently announced new findings that may identify possible causes for the epidemic of lung illnesses sweeping the country. Health officials were unable to point to a single brand or product, but 66 percent of 86 patients interviewed in the two states reported using factory-filled THC cartridges marketed under the name “Dank Vapes.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues close oversight of the widespread illnesses.

“The precise source of this outbreak is currently unknown; however, the predominant use of prefilled THC-containing cartridges among patients with lung injury associated with e-cigarette use suggests that they play an important role,” health officials said in the two-state report. “While this investigation is ongoing, CDC recommends that persons consider refraining from using e-cigarette, or vaping, products, particularly those containing THC.”




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