DALLAS — Health officials in Dallas County confirmed Tuesday its received 14 reports from hospitals of patients with probable or confirmed severe respiratory illnesses associated with vaping.

It's among the latest numbers linking cases of lung damage to e-cigarette use, primarily in younger people.

Wendy Chung, the chief epidemiologist at Dallas County's Health and Human Services, told WFAA that six cases involved patients under the age of 18.

"The median age of these patients is 19 years," Chung said. "And six have required intubation or mechanical ventilation."

Tuesday, state health officials also raised the number of cases reported to the Texas Department of State Health Services to 29, with 17 of those confirmed or probable for acute lung damage.

DSHS is asking healthcare providers to talk to patients about e-cig use if they report shortness of breath, fatigue or severe coughing. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified over 450 possible cases in 33 states of lung disease related to vaping, including as many as five deaths.

Dr. David Persse, with the Houston Health Department, confirmed three teens have been hospitalized with serious lung illnesses following electronic cigarette use and vaping in the state's largest city.

"Something has changed about vaping," he said. "This is a real phenomenon. Parents, you need to look out for your kids, find out what they’re doing and educate them that this is dangerous.”

Persse says all three teenagers are doing well and improving. Two of the teenagers are no longer hospitalized.

Tarrant County health officials told WFAA it was aware of eight cases of lung illnesses likely linked to vaping.

The Denton County Health Services confirmed it reported one case to the state on Tuesday.

Collin County health officials said they also reported one possible case of lung disease related to vaping, but said they haven't received confirmation back from the state if their case matched the criteria set out by the CDC.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

 

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