St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Minnesota is the fourth state to report a death associated with a vaping related lung injury.

The Minnesota Department of Health today confirmed the death of a person with a lung injury associated with vaping illegal THC products. State Epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield says the patient, who is over 65 years old, died last month after a long and complicated hospitalization for a severe lung injury that progressed to include other conditions.

Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said health officials continue to work aggressively to gather information and determine what has caused these lung injuries.

“One death from this outbreak is one death too many,” Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said. “We are working with our partners around the state and the nation to find out everything we can as quickly as we can to prevent additional illnesses and deaths.”

In Minnesota, there have been 17 patients who have been classified as confirmed or probable cases of vaping-associated lung injuries. Officials say another 15 potential cases are under investigation. The resulting hospitalizations have lasted from days to weeks and some patients have ended up in intensive care units. Among the patients that have been interviewed by investigators, all reported they had been vaping illicit THC products.

Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting more than 450 potential or confirmed cases of severe lung injuries. So far, four deaths have been linked to the condition. The other fatalities were reported in Illinois, Oregon, and Indiana.

Currently, health officials are advising people to avoid vaping illegal THC products, with the available evidence showing that many of the people suffering from lung injury cases have exposure to the products. They also advise people with a history of vaping who experience lung injury symptoms to seek medical care and avoid using vaping products. The symptoms reported by the patients included shortness of breath, fever, cough, and vomiting and diarrhea. Other symptoms reported by some patients included headache, dizziness and chest pain.
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