THURSDAY, Nov. 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The number of Americans stricken with a severe respiratory illness tied to vaping has now reached 2,051, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

That is a rise from the case total of 1,888 from a week ago. Currently, cases have been reported in every state except Alaska, the agency noted. The related death toll has also risen by two during the past week, to 39 fatalities, spread across 24 states and the District of Columbia. Deaths have involved patients ranging from the ages of 17 to 75 years, with a median age of 53. Young men are being especially affected, with 70 percent of patients being male and 79 percent younger than 35.

No new data on possible factors driving these illnesses were released in the new report. However, last week the CDC noted that 86 percent of cases involved products that contained tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Anne Schuchat, M.D., principal deputy director of the CDC, has stressed that nicotine-containing vaping products without THC cannot be ruled out as a potential cause of harm. Because of that, the CDC recommendation for everyone to stop vaping still stands, she said in a recent media briefing.

What is clear is that the illnesses that are affecting vapers can be sudden and severe. Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, and chest pains. Many patients have required supplemental oxygen, and in extreme cases, patients required assisted ventilation and oxygenation or were intubated.

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