(Reuters) – Minnesota on Wednesday confirmed two more deaths from a mysterious lung illness linked to e-cigarettes, bringing the total number of deaths to 31 across the country, as U.S. health officials investigate the outbreak that has shown no signs of easing.
FILE PHOTO: A man uses a vape device in this illustration picture, September 19, 2019. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Illustration
Latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) listed 1,299 confirmed and probable cases of the illness as of Oct. 8. (bit.ly/2IlMmo5)
CDC is due to update the number of illnesses and deaths later on Thursday. (bit.ly/33ylF7A)
The agency urged people last month to not use e-cigarettes with marijuana ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), saying that the high-inducing component may have a role in causing the illness.
U.S. health officials have said there may be more than one cause for the outbreak of the illness and that they do not see a meaningful drop in the number of new cases.
Here’s what we know about the vaping-related deaths so far:
** States that have reported deaths: Alabama, California (3), Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia (2), Illinois, Indiana (3), Kansas (2), Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota (3), Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon (2), Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and Virginia.
** About 70% of the 1,043 patients, on whom data is available, are male, with 15% below 18 years of age, according to the CDC.
** Data shows all reported patients have a history of e-cigarette use or vaping.
** Patients have reported symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath or chest pain, as well as nausea or diarrhea, according to the CDC.
** Washington Governor Jay Inslee last month urged state agencies to ban flavored and cannabis-derived vaping products and said more stringent rules could follow.
** A federal judge this month denied the industry’s bid to put a hold on Massachusetts’ four-month ban, saying a temporary restraining order on the ban would conflict with the public interest.
** New York state, Michigan and Rhode Island have all banned the sale of flavored vaping products.
** Kroger Co, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc and Walmart Inc have said they would stop selling e-cigarettes at their stores.
** Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba Group Holding Ltd said it will stop selling e-cigarette components in the United States.
Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla, Vishwadha Chander and Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva, Sriraj Kalluvila and Shounak Dasgupta