Jose Luis Gonzalez | Reuters
US. Health officials have finally come up with a potential breakthrough in the onset of Vaping disease, killing at least 39 people. Vitamin E acetate is a "potentially harmful toxin," officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.
The compound used Dr. Anne Schuchat, deputy principal director of the CDC, told reporters in a telephone conference about supplements, cosmetics and steam products in all 29 lung tissue samples from patients who were tested by health officials.
"We have a potential toxin of concern from biological samples in patients," Schuchat said. "We are in a better place to search for a culprit than a few weeks ago."
THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, was found in 23 of the 29 samples tested, officials said on Friday. Nicotine was detected in 1
Officials reiterated that there may be more than one cause of the outbreak, and that they are also investigating the equipment used for steaming.
"Many products and substances are still under investigation," Schuchat said.
Schuchat warned consumers that they should not rummage in their cupboards to dispose of products containing vitamin E acetate. Schuchat said the compound is not normally dangerous to swallow or apply to the skin. Further studies are needed to investigate the association between vitamin E acetate and lung-related lung disease.
"There's a big difference between taking vitamin E acetate on the skin or swallowing a vitamin E pill and inhaling vitamin E acetate in an e-liquid," she said.
The CDC confirmed 2 051 probable cases on Tuesday, with 163 new cases diagnosed last week. Patients were found in 49 states and on the Virgin Islands. The number of reported deaths rose from 37 in the last week to 39.
Health authorities refer to the disease as EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping), a lung injury associated with product use. Most patients, according to CDC, stated that they were vaporizing THC. Recent national and government evidence suggests that products containing THC, especially those purchased from the road or from other informal sources, such as illegal traders, are associated with most cases, the CDC said.
Schuchat announced on Friday the number of cases of lung disease This seems to be on the decline, but some states are still being hit hard and health authorities continue to be very active in the investigation.
The CDC recommends that consumers stop steaming, especially THC and anything bought from the street. Until the relationship between vitamin E acetate and lung health is better characterized, it is important that the compound is not added to e-cigarettes or vaping products.
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