Outbreak of Lung Disease Associated with E-Cigarette Use
In late August, CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced an investigation of an outbreak of severe lung disease associated with the use of e-cigarette products. Together with state and local health departments and other clinical and public health partners, CDC and FDA are investigating serious incidents of respiratory disease that have affected both youth and adults across the country. As the print version of this issue of The Synergist went to press, the agencies had not yet identified a cause of the outbreak but believed that the lung illnesses were likely associated with a chemical exposure. According to CDC, all patients had reported using e-cigarette products. Many had reported using e-cigarette products with liquids containing cannabinoid products such as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient in cannabis.

Information about the outbreak appears below. The numbers below are current as of Sept. 6, 2019.

From “Severe Pulmonary Disease Associated with Using E-Cigarette Products:” “Although the etiology of e-cigarette-associated pulmonary disease is undetermined, epidemiologic investigations in affected states are ongoing to better characterize the exposures [and] demographic, clinical, and laboratory features and behaviors of patients.”

Editor's note: The graphic below reproduces the image accompanying this article in the print edition of the October issue. The information in the image was the latest available at the time the October issue went to press.

As of Sept. 26, CDC had identified:
  • 805 possible cases of lung illness
  • 46 states that have reported possible cases
  • 12 deaths in ten states
For current information on lung disease associated with e-cigarette use, visit the CDC website.
Tap on the graphic to open a larger version in your browser.
In August, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported that a student intern and a researcher at Oak Ridge Associated Universities had devised an experiment to replicate the McCluskey incident in order to study the effects of radiation on the body. By irradiating vials of their own blood for different lengths of time, the researchers hope to generate data that clinicians and first responders can refer to following an exposure incident.

Read more from the News Sentinel.