Cases of lung damage connected to vaping showing up in older age groups

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MADISON (WKOW) — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services continues to investigate cases of people with severe lung disease who all reported recent vaping or dabbing (which is vaping marijuana oils, extracts, or concentrates).

While cases in the investigation initially included only teens and young adults, health officials now have confirmed cases in older age groups.

In total, there are 12 confirmed cases and 13 other cases under further investigation. Counties with confirmed cases include Dodge, Door, Kenosha, Racine, Walworth, Waukesha, and Winnebago.

“We are continuing to interview patients so we can identify a possible cause,” said Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm in a news release. “All patients reported vaping prior to their hospitalization, but we don’t know all the products they used at this time. The products used could include a number of substances, including nicotine, THC, synthetic cannabinoids, or a combination of these.”

These patients experienced shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, cough, and weight loss. The severity of the disease has varied among patients, with some needing assistance to breathe. While patients have improved with treatment, it is not known if there will be long-term health effects. People should contact their doctor with any concerns about these symptoms.

This is an ongoing investigation and DHS is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and coordinating with other states to make them aware of the situation so they are prepared if they have reports of similar cases.

People can learn more about e-cigarettes and vaping products, including what they look like and how to talk to kids about them, at Tobacco is Changing. There are FDA-approved medications to help tobacco users quit. Call 800-QUIT NOW for free help.

The latest updates on this disease investigation are posted on the DHS Outbreaks and Investigations page.

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