U.S. CDC activates emergency operations center for vaping-related illnesses


FILE PHOTO: A man uses a vape as he walks on Broadway in New York City, U.S., September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

(Reuters) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday it had activated the agency’s emergency operations center to help the current investigation into the cases of lung illnesses linked to e-cigarette use.

The activation of the emergency operation center (EOC) provides additional support to CDC staff, and agency experts will continue to lead the CDC response with support from additional CDC and EOC staff, the agency said.

“CDC has made it a priority to find out what is causing this outbreak of e-cigarette or vaping-related injuries and deaths,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a statement.

So far, six deaths have been reported from six states and the agency is investigating 380 possible cases of the illness in 36 states, plus the U.S. Virgin Islands, the agency said last week.

While the illnesses have not yet been linked to a specific product or ingredient, health officials have urged consumers to avoid vaping altogether.

For those who continue, officials said they should avoid buying vaping products on the street, using marijuana-derived oil with the products or modifying a store-bought vape product, and to avoid inhaling vitamin E acetate, an ingredient found in some vaping products.

Reporting by Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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