CINCINNATI — The Ohio Department of Health has identified 17 cases of severe pulmonary illness linked to vaping, it announced online Thursday. Two are in Hamilton County. Twenty-two more possible cases remain under investigation throughout the state.
According to ODH’s most recent data, the 17 hospitalized patients’ ages range from 16-59, but the median age is 20. Six are women; 11 are men.
The confirmed cases span Butler, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lucas, Portage, Richland, Summit, Union and Wayne counties. According to ODH, no specific e-cigarette product had been identified as the probable culprit.
Ohio’s 17 instances of vaping-related illness comprise just a sliver of the 530 confirmed and probable cases the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified across the United States in the last several weeks. Eight of those cases have ended in the patient’s death.
Symptoms of the mystery illness include nausea, fatigue and minor respiratory trouble — coughing, chest pain or shortness of breath — that blooms into pneumonia or even acute respiratory distress syndrome, a condition in which the lungs fill with fluid and the body can no longer effectively oxygenate its cells.
A Washington Post reporter spent late August following the case of a Utah man who, diagnosed with acute respiratory distress system, “went from being sick to being on death’s door in literally two days,” according to his father.
ODH will continue to update the number of confirmed cases every Tuesday and Thursday at this page.