Articles, Blog

The Vaping Debate and Health: Tracking vaping-related lung illness

March 5, 2020

KAREN HACKER: On August 1, 2019,
Wisconsin first alerted the CDC about a cluster of pulmonary
injury among young adults. And that had begun
in July of 2019. CDC implemented an
instant command structure at that point. And then on September
16, 2019, we activated our
emergency operations center, which allows us to
bring in more dedicated staff and resources to help
with the investigation. We pulled in
scientific expertise from across our agency to focus
on the [INAUDIBLE],, laboratory, and clinical rounds. And we were working with
many, many organizations across the country at the state
level, at the national level and letting the public know
what was going on as we were able to understand it. Our response efforts
mainly focused on identifying and defining,
first and foremost, the risk factors and the
sources for e-cigarettes and other vaping products
that were used in lung injury. As you may know, it
is very challenging because, for example, we
might get a web address. As soon as we got that
web address, it was gone– literally. So identifying where
these products came from was extremely challenging. Simultaneously, most of the
individuals who were ill had used multiple products. There wasn’t one flavor. There wasn’t one
particular product. They used both things that
they got off the web, THC. But then they also used some of
the more conventional products as well. We were detecting and tracking
confirmed and probable cases with the help of all of
the states and localities that were involved. And we were communicating that
information on a regular basis. And then the laboratory studies
began as samples came in. And that was really what helped
us identify that the vitamin E acetate was particularly
concerning to us. All of that information
was being put out regularly to the public. I think sometimes there’s
a frustration that things weren’t happening fast enough. But we really needed to know
that our evidence was strong while we released
this information.

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