Indiana announced a third death linked to the illness on Friday, and Minnesota a fourth. State and federal health officials are working urgently to understand the causes.

Medical experts and federal health officials on Friday warned the public about the dangers of vaping and discouraged using the devices as the number of people with a severe lung illness linked to vaping has more than doubled to 450 possible cases in 33 states. The number of deaths linked to vaping rose to four from two on Friday.

The Indiana Department of Health announced the third death, saying only that the victim was older than 18. Hours later, officials in Minnesota confirmed that a fourth person had died. The patient, who was 65, had a history of lung disease, but state officials said his acute lung injury was linked to “vaping illicit T.H.C. products.”

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health was investigating a possible fifth death, saying on Friday afternoon that the fatality was “associated with the use of e-cigarettes, also known as vaping.”

“There is clearly an epidemic that begs for an urgent response,” Dr. David C. Christiani of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health wrote in an editorial published on Friday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Read full article here.

Matt Richtel and Denise Grady – New York Times – September 6, 2019.

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