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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. —Illinois health officials said Friday they might be investigating the very first death in the country linked to vaping. A patient who contracted a serious lung disease after reporting vaping has died.

Health officials have not released more information in order to protect the person’s privacy.

According to the IDPH, the number of cases of people who have used e-cigarettes or vaped and have been hospitalized with respiratory symptoms has doubled in the past week.

Friday the Illinois Department of Public Health said they could have as many as 40 cases on their hands. 22 so far confirmed. 12 are under investigation.

While the CDC says nearly 150 cases have been reported so far nationwide the numbers are growing and fast.

Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Some also experienced vomiting and diarrhea.

“The severity of illness people are experiencing is alarming and we must get the word out that using e-cigarettes and vaping can be dangerous,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.

The IDPH said they are working with local health departments, other state health departments, and the Food and Drug Administration to investigate the names and types of e-cigarettes, vaping products, and devices, as well as where they were obtained.

According to the CDC, in many cases, including Illinois, patients have acknowledged to health care personnel recent use of THC-containing products. However, no specific product has been identified in all cases, nor has any product been conclusively linked to illnesses.

It is unclear if these cases have a common cause or if they are different diseases with similar symptoms.

Cases have been reported in Chicago and Champaign, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Madison, McHenry, Peoria, St. Clair, and Will counties.

Health officials urge anyone experiencing any type of chest pain or difficulty breathing after using e-cigarettes or vaping in the weeks or months prior to these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.

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