Nov 8, 2019 - Health

Health officials make "breakthrough" in search for cause of vaping illness

A man vapes.
Photo: Sushil Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Federal health officials have found vitamin E acetate in the lung fluids of 29 patients diagnosed with a mysterious vaping-related illness, the Centers for Disease Control announced Friday, a "breakthrough" in the search for the culprit of the mysterious disease, the Washington Post writes.

Why it matters: The development further links vitamin E acetate as "a very strong culprit of" the illness, said Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director at the CDC, per the Post. But the agency isn't ruling out other compounds or ingredients as sources for the illness, which has afflicted more than 2,000 people, and killed 39.

  • Officials need to conduct additional testing, Schuchat noted, some of which will be completed on people who vaped and did not become ill.

Of note: Investigators also found THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, in 23 of the patients. Most patients who have fallen ill in the outbreak have vaped THC, officials have said.

Flashback: In early September, state and federal health authorities homed in on vitamin E acetate as they tried to determine the cause of vaping-related illnesses. The compound turned up in marijuana products that patients had used.

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