9 deaths tied to vaping-related illness

Missouri health officials on Sept. 19 confirmed the nation's eighth fatal case of a vaping-related lung illness, while Kansas officials announced the ninth death Sept. 23.

The eighth patient was a man in his mid-forties who began vaping in May 2019. He was hospitalized with severe respiratory symptoms in late August and transferred to St.Louis based-Mercy Hospital Sept. 4. Before vaping, he had normal lung function. Lung samples confirm death due to vaping-related lung injury.

"He started out with shortness of breath, and it rapidly progressed and deteriorated, developing into what is called acute respiratory distress syndrome," Michael Plisco, MD, a critical care pulmonologist and medical director of Mercy's extracorporeal membrane oxygenation program, told NBC affiliate KSDK News. "Once the lungs are injured by vaping, we don't know how quickly it worsens and if it depends on other risk factors." 

The case is the first vaping-related death of 22 reported illnesses in Missouri. 

The nation's ninth vaping-related death was reported Sept. 23 by Democratic Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and is the state's second vaping-related death. The patient was a man over 50 who suffered from underlying health conditions. 

As of Sept. 19, there have been 530 confirmed and probable vaping-related lung illnesses in 38 states and 1 U.S. territory, according to the CDC

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