On Friday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was aware of 193 potential cases of severe lung disease in 22 states that could be caused by vaping.
These numbers are an increase from the 153 potential cases in 16 states that the agency reported Wednesday. At the time, there were no known deaths reported, the agency said.
“The severity of illness people are experiencing is alarming and we must get the word out that using e-cigarettes and vaping can be dangerous,” Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said in a statement. Ezike added that the department requested help from CDC staff, who arrived in Illinois Tuesday.
The state health department said patients experienced a variety of symptoms — including cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea — that “worsened over a period of days or weeks before admission to the hospital.”
Health officials said it is still unclear whether there’s a connection between cases among different states, whether vaping definitively caused these illnesses, and what components or chemicals of e-cigarettes might be responsible. Both the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health did, however, note that a number of patients have also reported using products containing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive substance in cannabis.
“However, no specific product has been identified in all cases, nor has any product been conclusively linked to illnesses,” the state health department said. “Even though cases appear similar, it is not clear if these cases have a common cause or if they are different diseases with similar symptoms.”
CNN’s Arman Azad and Kara Devlin contributed to this report.