Eight teens were hospitalized in July with seriously damaged lungs in Wisconsin, the state Department of Health Services reported Thursday.
“We suspect that these injuries were caused by vaping,” said Dr. Michael Gutzeit, chief medical officer at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin where the teens were admitted, at a press conference.
Their symptoms, including cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue, worsened over days or weeks before the patients arrived at Children’s Hospital. Some reported fever, anorexia, chest pain, nausea and diarrhea. Scans and X-rays showed inflammation or swelling throughout both lungs, said Gutzeit.
All eight patients, who live in Milwaukee, Waukesha and Winnebago counties, tested negative for infectious diseases and reported vaping in the weeks and months before their hospital admission.
“The severity of health condition has varied, with some patients needing assistance in order to breathe,” said Gutzeit. He added that the teens have shown improvement after treatment, but any long-term effects are not yet known. With “an exponential increase in the number of teens vaping,” Gutzeit is concerned that more teens will develop similar lung damage that requires hospital treatment.