CDC searches for culprit of vaping-related illness outbreak

The U.S. outbreak of lung-related injuries tied to e-cigarettes, or vaping, shows little signs of ebbing.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, Deputy Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says new cases emerging every week.

The CDC says 805 people have been sickened and 12 have died after using e-cigarettes or vaping devices.

Man uses vaping device

The CDC reports 805 Americans sickened, 12 have died of vaping-related lung injuries

Health officials say they have yet to pinpoint what is making people ill, but the latest data suggests products containing THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, may play a role.

The CDC says 77% of the people involved in the outbreak reported using THC-containing products, or a combination of THC-containing products and nicotine-containing products.

Dr. Schuchat says no single product, brand, substance or additive has been linked to all the cases.

She says the investigation is complicated by the number of ingredients in e-cigarettes and the complex supply chain of vaping products in the U.S.

In Wisconsin and Illinois, where state health officials have interviewed 86 patients sickened in the outbreak, investigators say the 86 reported using 234 unique e-cigarette, or vaping, labelled with 87 different brand names.

The CDC says the vast majority of those sickened were using prefilled or prepackaged THC cartridges they obtained informally from friends, family members or on the streets.

"Users do not know what is in their e-cigarettes or solutions," Schuchat says.

Investigators are now getting a better idea of who is affected by the outbreak of lung-related illnesses.

More than two-thirds of patients are male.

The median age of the cases is 23 years, and about 62 % of patients are between 18-34 years of age.

Man uses vaping or e-cigarette device

The CDC says the number of cases of a mysterious lung illness linked to vaping is growing. (FOX 5 Atlanta)

The CDC says 90% of those sickened were hospitalized, and nearly 60% were admitted to an intensive care unit.

"What that means is that a person has a life-threatening illness and may require being hooked up to a breathing machine to help them breathe and may require other supportive measures," says Dr. Schuchat.

The symptoms include difficulty breathing, cough, chest pain, fever, abdominal pain and nausea or vomiting.

Man uses vaping device

The CDC says the number of cases of a mysterious lung illness linked to vaping is growing. (FOX 5 Atlanta)

"It is too soon for us to say how well these individuals will do long-term, after discharge, and whether they'll have continued to have some difficulty breathing or weakened lungs that may not recover fully," Dr. Schuchat told reporters. "We're in the early days, but we know some people have been gravely ill."

The CDC is recommending people refrain from using e-cigarettes until more is known about the cause of the lung-related injuries.