A third person has died of severe lung disease related to the use of a steamer. The death was confirmed Friday by the state of Indiana, which stated that a "person over the age of 18" had died without providing additional information about the patient or the case, based on data protection laws.
Two more people – one in Illinois, the other in Oregon, both adults – have died from a seemingly identical illness, health officials in these states said. State and federal health authorities are trying to find a cause, possibly a particular chemical or adulterant, contained in some steam products. To date, more than 200 cases of the mysterious disease have been reported in 25 states.
What looked like a few scattered cases in mid-June has become a widespread and widespread threat to public health, making people sick in about two dozen states, some of which weigh so heavily that they have been stored on respirators. Those affected usually end up in emergency rooms with shortness of breath after several days of symptoms, including high fever.
The state of New York, in which 34 people are ill, said on Thursday that samples from eight of its cases had been vaporized showed high concentrations of a compound called vitamin E acetate. The investigators are investigating the possibility that the oily substance plays a key role in the disease.
However, some of the more than 100 federally-tested vapor samples have been found to be not positive for vitamin E acetate, which remains one of many causes of severe pneumonia.