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UPDATE: 2 more cases of vaping illness in Clark County

Posted at 9:33 AM, Sep 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-18 20:50:04-04

UPDATE SEPT. 18: Two additional Clark County residents have been identified as having severe respiratory illness linked to e-cigarette products. The Southern Nevada Health District reports both cases are individuals ages 18 or older. Clark County’s first confirmed case was in a person under the age of 18. A pulmonary infection that would provide an alternative diagnosis has not been identified. All three were hospitalized but are now recovering from their illnesses. The Health District will not be releasing any additional information regarding these individuals. READ MORE

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) -- The Southern Nevada Health District is reporting Clark County’s first confirmed case of severe respiratory illness linked to e-cigarette products in a person under the age of 18. The youth was hospitalized with respiratory symptoms that met the case definition established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A pulmonary infection has not been identified. The patient was released from the hospital and is recovering.

The Health District continues to advise people not to use vaping products and e-cigarettes. These products should never be used by youth, young adults, pregnant women, and people who do not currently use tobacco products. Even people who currently use tobacco products who wish to quit smoking should use FDA-approved therapies. Symptoms associated with the reported illnesses include:

  • Respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain)
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea)
  • Non-specific symptoms (fatigue, fever, or weight loss)

People who use e-cigarettes and experience any of these symptoms are advised to seek medical care right away. People seeking help quitting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, can contact the Nevada Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-Quit-Now or 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569) from a Nevada area code.

“Certainly, individuals who don’t smoke, should not pick up the habit of e-cigarettes ad vaping,” Dr. Michael Johnson, director of community health with SNHD, said.

There have been 450 possible cases reported and six deaths; the most recent reported on September 10. These numbers are changing frequently. The CDC continues to report that it has not identified any specific substance or e-cigarette product that is linked in all cases. Many but not all patients report using e-cigarette products that contain cannabinoid products such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Up to date information is available on the CDC website.

“Most of the cases have involved individuals who have either been using e-cigarettes or vaping or vaping THC or getting devices off the streets,” Dr. Johnson said.

"It's heartbreaking"

That's the reaction from Alex Mazzola, president of the Nevada Vaping Association after hearing of the state's first vaping-related illness. The Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) confirmed the case Wednesday.

“As soon as we hear anybody gets sick from the CDC or the health department, our main concern is of course, the individual,” Mazzola said.

Mazzola says he doesn't want to see kids vaping and wants to know exactly what products were used in all the cases nationwide, saying the victims could very well be adding other drugs or using items from the black market. As a e-liquid seller, it very well affects his bottom-line.

“I would want to know, and I promise you my wife and I would close this business down today. I will leave this business if I kill one person,” Mazzola said.