Several patients who had been treated after using e-cigarettes had to be hospitalized again, US health authorities said Friday, continuing to investigate the epidemic of lung diseases responsible for the deaths of 26 people.
Approximately 1300 cases of severe pulmonary disease associated with vaping have been reported throughout the country since March and virtually all patients have been hospitalized. But no sign of weakening this epidemic, despite the warnings of health authorities, was noteworthy.
"We were informed that a handful of people were readmitted for clinical care after leaving the hospital, where they were due to a lung infection. We need to better understand these situations, "Anne Schuchat, a senior official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told the press.
There are "less than five" people involved, she said, and the time between discharge and readmission ranged from five to 55 days.
The causes of these new hospitalizations remained, at this stage, still unclear even if the investigators leaned for several hypotheses like the recovery of the electronic cigarette or the increased sensitivity of the patients to the infections after having contracted a pulmonary disease.
The authorities recommended that all patients make a routine visit within seven days.
According to Schuchat, research at the national level suggests that products containing THC, the psychoactive agent of cannabis, especially those obtained in the street or from unknown sources, play a major role in the epidemic.
Of the samples of THC-containing products tested so far, 47% had vitamin E acetate, according to Ned Sharpless, the acting director of the US Drug Agency (FDA).
Vitamin E is a normally harmless supplement that can be bought as a capsule to swallow, or oil to apply to the skin, but is harmful when inhaled or heated.
For now, investigators believe that some cases are due to risky practices related to the preparation of THC. It may be, however, that in some other cases there are other causes for these diseases.