Dec 20 (Reuters) - U.S. health officials said on Friday there has been a decline in emergency department visits caused by a mysterious lung illness tied to vaping, and recommended that health care providers follow up soon after hospital discharge.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday reported 54 deaths and 2,506 hospitalizations due to the illness, called EVALI, as of Dec. 17.
The deaths have been confirmed in 27 states and the District of Columbia, and the CDC said more deaths were under investigation.
The CDC on Friday recommended that patients have a follow up with a clinical provider within 48 hours of hospital discharge, a shorter follow-up time than the previous recommendation of between one and two weeks.
In November, U.S. officials reported the discovery of Vitamin E acetate — believed to be used as a cutting agent in illicit vaping products containing marijuana components — in all lung samples from 29 patients.
While it appears that vitamin E acetate is associated with the illnesses, there are many different substances and product sources that are being investigated, and there may be more than one cause, the agency cautioned.
CDC has called Vitamin E acetate as a “chemical of concern” and recommended the substance not be added to e-cigarettes, or vaping products, while the investigation is ongoing. (Reporting by Vishwadha Chander; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)