(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.
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. (http://bit.ly/2IlMmo5)
CDC is due to update the number of illnesses and deaths later on Thursday. (https://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)