A second person has died in the U.S. after developing a respiratory illness that health officials believe is linked to using an e-cigarette.
The individual died in July after experiencing symptoms consistent with more than 200 similar cases of respiratory illness in the U.S., mostly affecting teenagers and young adults, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) said Tuesday.
The individual, who has not been identified, had recently used a vaping device and cannabis purchased from a cannabis dispensary, the health department said.
“We don’t yet know the exact cause of these illnesses — whether they’re caused by contaminants, ingredients in the liquid or something else, such as the device itself,” Dr. Ann Thomas, a physician at OHA’s public health division, said in a statement.
OHA said it is still investigating the death and is therefore not releasing specific details, such as the dispensary’s name, at this time.
“We are still investigating the type of product/device the individual used, as well as how many different products/devices the individual may have used and how long the individual may have used them,” Jonathan Modie, OHA’s lead communications officer, told HuffPost in an email on Thursday.
The death follows Illinois health officials reporting the death last month of a patient who contracted a serious lung disease after vaping. The individual, also not identified, was between 17 and 38 years old.
Health officials across the country have reported a growing number of breathing illnesses among people who vape. As of late last month, 215 cases had been reported in 25 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
The symptoms experienced by the patients include coughing, shortness of breath or chest pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, fatigue, fever and weight loss. Such symptoms have been reported as developing over a few days or several weeks.
Doctors have said that the illnesses resemble an inhalation injury. Infectious diseases have been ruled out as the cause.
This story has been updated with a statement from an OHA representative.