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September 27, 2021
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Vaping in Utah: 83 cases, 1 death. THC cartridges likely driver of outbreak

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — The number of vaping-related lung disease cases in Utah has risen to 83, including one death, and most of the cases are from black market THC cartridges.

That means there have been seven new cases since numbers were last updated one week ago when there were 76 reported cases, according to the Utah Department of Health (UDOH).

UDOH states most of the cases are people in their 20s and 30s, with a median age of 26. That’s 3 years older than the national average age of cases which is 23, with mean accounting for 83% of all cases.

UDOH states:

Among Utah cases, 90% were hospitalized. More than half of cases were admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) and many were diagnosed with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The majority of cases required breathing assistance during their illness, most through a CPAP or BiPAP mask but some through intubation for ventilator support. The majority of cases in Utah have symptom onset dates beginning in late July. Ninety-two percent of cases self-reported vaping THC cartridges and 66% self-reported vaping nicotine. Sixty percent of cases also self-report vaping both substances (60%). Most THC products were acquired through friends, online, and in-person dealers. A small percentage of THC products were acquired at out-of-state dispensaries or purchased at vape shops in Utah. Nicotine products were acquired mostly at vape shops in Utah.

UDOH has been working to test products used by Utah patients.

A total of 39 samples were tested at the UDOH Utah Public Health Laboratory (UPHL) for illicit drugs like opioids, fentanyl, and methamphetamine, as well as cutting agents, and biologic toxins.

Of all samples tested, 19 were THC samples and 20 were nicotine samples.

Of the THC samples, 100%, unsurprisingly, contained THC, 5% contained nicotine, and 89% contained vitamin E, which is being largely blamed in a number of cases.

Of the nicotine samples, 0% contained THC, 100%, again, unsurprisingly, contained nicotine and 0% contained vitamin E.

This article was originally published on KUTV.com,

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