ANCHORAGE — Alaska’s first confirmed vaping injury case is a teenager who is recovering in a hospital, state officials said Tuesday.
Until the announcement, Alaska was the only state without a vaping injury or death linked to e-cigarettes or THC products.
The teenager regularly vaped nicotine, as well as THC products that originated in the Lower 48, state epidemiologist Joe McLaughlin said.
“This case really underscores that Alaska in not insulated from this nationwide outbreak,” he said. “We’re concerned we will see additional cases.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 2,290 lung-injury cases were reported as of Nov. 20 in 49 states, two U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
A total of 47 vaping deaths have been confirmed, the agency said.
The Alaska teen was hospitalized Thanksgiving Day, said McLaughlin, declining to release the teenager’s name.
The otherwise healthy teen complained of symptoms that included shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea after developing a cough in early November.
The teenager was initially given antibiotics, but the teen’s condition grew worse and led to hospitalization.
“Fortunately, this patient is recovering and hopefully will be discharged from the hospital soon,” McLaughlin said.
Symptoms of vaping illness can be similar to the flu, McLaughlin said.
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services previously investigated nine suspected lung-injury cases over the past several months.