Authorities in the United States say they are continuing to investigate an outbreak of a mystery lung disease, which has been identified in people who use e-cigarettes. On Friday (23 August 2019), officials confirmed the first death related to the outbreak in an adult who was hospitalised with the unexplained illness.
Between June 28 and August 20, 193 potential but unconfirmed cases of the mystery illness were reported. According to authorities, in many cases, patients reported a gradual onset of symptoms, including breathing difficulty, shortness of breath and/or chest pain before hospitalisation.
So far, authorities say evidence does not suggest that an infectious disease is the principal cause of the illness, and while they have not identified a cause, they say all of the reported cases have e-cigarette product use or 'vaping' in common. Furthermore, some of the patients acknowledged recent use of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing products; however, “no specific product has been identified in all cases, nor has any product been conclusively linked to illnesses.”
Authorities have also said however that even though cases appear similar, "it is not clear if these cases have a common cause or if they are different diseases with similar presentations."