The individual in Oregon, who died in July, had recently vaped products containing cannabis purchased at a dispensary, according to the announcement.
Health officials say it’s unclear whether there’s a connection between cases, whether vaping definitively caused these illnesses and what components or chemicals of e-cigarettes might be responsible.
“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, public health physician at Oregon Health Authority’s Public Health Division, said in a statement.
Reports by individual state health departments suggest the total number of potential cases could be significantly higher, although some cases may still be ruled out. The CDC declined to confirm the number of additional reports.
The CDC, FDA and state health departments say they’re working together figure out which products might have been used and facilitate laboratory testing.
So far, the FDA has “received about 80 samples and continues to receive requests from states to send more samples for the FDA to analyze,” the Friday statement said. “The samples represent a variety of different types of products and substances — a number of which contained incomplete information about the product.
“At this time, there does not appear to be one product involved in all of the cases, although THC and cannabinoids use has been reported in many cases.” THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive substance in cannabis.
Health officials say patients have been hospitalized following symptoms such as difficulty breathing and chest pain. Some have experienced other symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, fever and fatigue. Many of those affected have been previously healthy adolescents and young adults.