YAKIMA — Since the confirmation of one case of severe lung disease linked to the use of vaping devices was identified last week in Seattle, two more similar cases have since been found.

The Washington Department of Health confirmed the additional cases of severe pulmonary disease linked to vaping in a press release issued Monday, Sept. 16.

These cases were identified by the Spokane Regional Health District and victims are both currently living in Spokane County.

“All three confirmed cases reported vaping prior to illness but to date we have not identified a product, device or additive that are common to all three cases Investigations into the specifics of products, device and additives are ongoing,” said DOH Officer Kathy Lofy in her latest health alert bulletin.

Yakima Health District has reported no cases of vape-related diseases have been confirmed in the county, Yakima Health District Public Information Officer Nathan Johnson announced.

“However, information about what to look for has been sent to all area health providers in the county,” Johnson added.

DOH officials announced the first confirmed case of a severe lung disease linked with the use of vaping devices on Sept. 11, which was identified by Public Health – Seattle and King County.

“The symptoms of this patient match what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have asked all state and local health jurisdictions to be on the lookout for in regard to the nationwide investigation into this matter,” Lofy advised in a release issued last Wednesday.

Public Health – Seattle and King County had reported the patient was a young adult male who has recovered after being hospitalized in August at a local King County hospital.

Yakima County hospitals officials have been suspicious of some patients showing up in emergency rooms, especially young patients, showing signs of pneumonia and related symptoms, “…which includes chest pains, coughing, shortness of breath, Johnson recommended.

“Those suffering anything that looks like a cold should seek medical attention,” Johnson warned.

While the CDC investigation is ongoing and has not identified a definitive cause, although reported cases have indicated a history of using vaping devices.

Vaping devices — also known as JUULs, e-cigarettes, vapes, e-hookahs, vape pens, mods, tanks, or electronic nicotine delivery systems - can contain nicotine, marijuana, or other substances like flavoring agents and chemicals.

Julia Hart can be reached at 509-837-4500, ext. 123 or at jhart@sunnysidesun.com

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