The first person died after being admitted to hospital due to an unknown pulmonary disease. 193 people were affected with similar symptoms between 28 June and today, according to the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The pain was particularly acute in Illinois, where the number of e-cigarette users admitted to hospital for lung complaints has doubled in the last week. At present, 22 people are admitted to hospital; A further 12 human cases are being assessed.
It is not yet clear whether the symptoms associated with hospital admissions are due to a single illness. In Illinois, the people who are admitted to the hospital are relatively young: between 17 and 38 years old. Symptoms include shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing, according to the CDC. Some patients said they had chest pain before being admitted to the hospital. Others suffered from vomiting, diarrhea and fatigue.
The cause is unknown, although CDC officials say it is unlikely that a virus or bacteria is the culprit. No one has also identified a particular product that can make people sick. The CDC urges doctors report unexplained cases of pulmonary disease that may be related to vapors, along with information about which products their patients use. The CDC, the US Food and Drug Administration and government health officials are investigating the unexplained lung disease.
"The severity of the disease that people are experiencing is alarming and we need to let you know that the use of e-cigarettes and vines can be dangerous," said Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, in a statement.