The outbreak of U.S. vaping-related illnesses has surpassed 1,000 cases.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that 1,080 confirmed and probable cases have been reported in 48 states and one U.S. territory. The count includes 18 deaths in 15 states.
The first illnesses occurred in late March. Recently, 200 or more cases have been reported each week. Only Alaska and New Hampshire have yet to report cases.
Doctors say the illnesses resemble an inhalation injury. Symptoms include severe shortness of breath, fatigue and chest pain.
So far, officials have not identified a particular electronic cigarette, vaping device, liquid or ingredient behind the outbreak. But most who got sick said they vaped products containing tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the marijuana ingredient that gives a high.
Over 440 samples of products from 18 states have been collected to date, and those numbers continue to increase, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials said on a media call Thursday.
The FDA said there currently does not appear to be one product or substance involved in all of the cases.
In Canada, a Quebec resident has been diagnosed as the country’s first case of a severe vaping-related breathing illness.
Canadian health officials say anyone who has used an e-cigarette or vaping products, and has symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, with or without vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or fever is advised to consult a health-care professional.
People who switched to vaping to cut down on smoking cigarettes should not go back to cigarettes, Canadian and U.S. health officials said.