The case count for vaping-related lung injury now stands just shy of 1,300, up more than 200 from a week ago, the CDC said Thursday.
Only Alaska among the 50 states and the District of Columbia has yet to see a case.
Deaths confirmed as part of the outbreak total 26.
Moreover, it’s reported that the CDC will shortly step up its surveillance efforts on “vaping illness” in a novel way. According to Reuters, the agency will request that doctors seeing patients with suspected respiratory infection ask about their use of vaping products.
An updated guidance will “advise physicians on how to diagnose and manage patients who may have both a lung infection and a vaping injury,” the news service reported.
The concern is that patients with lung damage from vaping may be misdiagnosed or otherwise missed as flu season gets underway and large numbers of people with respiratory symptoms seek medical care.
“The fact that a given individual that presents for clinical evaluation could have flu, could have lung injury due to e-cigarettes, or both, makes it complicated for providers,” Ram Koppaka, MD, PhD, associate director for adult immunization at the CDC, told Reuters.
Physicians suspecting a patient has vaping-related lung damage are asked to get a detailed history of substances used and obtain the actual products for testing, if possible, as well as to report the case to local or state health departments.
The CDC said it still had no clear idea of what is causing the vaping-related illnesses. The general profile for victims hasn’t changed either: most are young men and the majority used THC e-liquid products.