New cases of a sudden and severe lung illness related to vaping have been reported in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah in the past week, as the number of cases in the United States rose to 300.
Many patients with the illness have been hospitalized with breathing problems, shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing, fatigue and fever.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced Thursday a second adult on the Front Range had acquired the illness. The first Colorado case was reported last week. No cases have been reported in Southwest Colorado.
New Mexico reported eight residents had acquired the disease as of Thursday, and Utah was investigating 21 cases of the lung disease this week, according to The Associated Press.
Nationally, nearly 300 people have been hospitalized with the illness, an increase in cases of 50% in a week, according to NBC. The network collected data from state health departments.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not announced an updated number of lung illnesses in a week.
The lung illness is associated with vaping products that contain nicotine, marijuana, CBD, synthetic marijuana or a combination of the ingredients, according to the Colorado health department.
When asked whether the illness was associated with a brand of vaping product, CDPHE spokeswoman Shannon Barbare said patients nationwide have used a variety of products, which contain many different ingredients.
“Disease investigators across the country are working together to pinpoint the cause of the lung illnesses. We do know vaping products are poorly regulated and may contain or generate chemicals that are unsafe, which could be what is making people sick,” she said in an email to The Durango Herald. The illness is not believed to be infectious, she said.
In New Mexico, patients interviewed with the illness had all vaped products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) oil.
All New Mexico patients were hospitalized, five of them in intensive care units. The cases were reported in Santa Fe, Los Alamos and Bernalillo counties, according to a news release.
The Colorado health department encourages residents to stop vaping to protect themselves, Barbare said. Parents are also encouraged to talk with their children about the risks of vaping.
In Southwest Colorado, 34.2% of 1,768 teens reported vaping in a 2017 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey.
People who vape and have experienced sudden and severe lung problems should contact their doctor or local public health agency.
Cases of the sudden illness can be reported to San Juan Basin Public Health at 247-5702.