State confirms pulmonary illness case in Knox County could be related to e-cigarette use

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The Knox County Health Department has received verification from state officials of a confirmed case of pulmonary illness possibly related to e-cigarette use, or vaping, in Knox County.

“Given the activity in the rest of the U.S., we’ve been expecting a case and believe more are likely,” said KCHD Senior Director Dr. Martha Buchanan. “It is still early in the investigation, but it’s important for the public to be aware of the symptoms and the potential link with e-cigarettes.”

Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, fever, chest pain, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, with symptoms progressing in severity over a period of days or weeks. Anyone with these symptoms who also uses e-cigarettes or vaping devices is encouraged to seek medical care from their health care provider. Last week, the Tennessee Department of Health issued a call for health care providers across the state to report to public health any suspect cases of serious respiratory illness they treat among patients who use electronic cigarettes or other vaping devices.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a cluster of severe pulmonary disease among people who use e-cigarettes or vape, with more than 193 cases reported to date in 22 states, not including Tennessee. One death has been reported in Illinois.

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