Health Officials Suspect Cases of Lung Injuries Associated With Vaping
The Minnesota Department of Health has sent an alert to health care providers in response to suspected cases in Minnesota of severe lung injuries associated with vaping.
There are 11 reported vaping cases in Minnesotans ranging from ages 14 to 46 that occurred between June and July, with a median age of 18 years. Diagnosis was made more difficult because the symptoms of the disease can be similar to those of COVID-19. All 11 cases resulted in hospitalizations with some requiring intensive care, including being placed on ventilators.
“This public health threat got a lot of attention last year, and unfortunately it has not gone away,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “We want providers and the public to be aware of the continued dangers of vaping products, and the possibility of lung injuries presenting as COVID-19. As we continue to investigate the causes of the lung injuries, we encourage people to take advantage of our free Quit Partner resources to help with quitting vaping.”
The patients sought care for symptoms similar to a severe COVID-19, including cough and shortness of breath. However, testing found the patients were not infected.
The patients said they had a history of vaping. Most reported vaping THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, the principal and most active ingredient in marijuana. Some reported using nicotine-based products. There are similar reports of a resurgence of lung injury cases in California.
“With this resurgence of cases, we are advising patients with a history of vaping who are experiencing lung-injury symptoms to seek clinical care,” said MDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield. “In addition, because this can present like COVID-19, providers also need to conduct a test to rule this out.”
More information on vaping-related lung injuries can be found on the Minnesota Department of Health website.