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Iowa Reports First Respiratory Illnesses Linked To Vaping

Natalie Krebs/IPR
A store that sells vaping products is near Drake University in Des Moines. Recent cases of severe respiratory illnesses have been linked to vaping.

The Iowa Department of Public Health is asking for the public’s help in identifying cases of respiratory illnesses possibly linked to vaping after four reported cases of severe respiratory illness in young adults.

The first reported cases in Iowa are young adults in their early to mid-20s who reported vaping, said Caitlin Pedati, the Medical Director for the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Pedati said symptoms include fatigue, diarrhea, fever and vomiting that progress into breathing problems.

"It seems like there’s typically a report of a cough or trouble breathing that worsens over time, and it’s not responding to typical treatment for things like bacteria," Pedati said.

Pedati said identifying additional cases will help state and federal health officials to investigate the cause of the illness, which is still unknown.

"That’s part of why we’re sharing this message is in the hopes that we’ll get a little more information and learn a little bit more in conjunction with our other state partners as well as our federal partners," she said.

In recent weeks, several other states including Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana have reported cases of severe respiratory illness in young adults who have had a history of vaping.

One death, a 20-year-old man from Illinois, has been linked to the respiratory illness.

Natalie Krebs is IPR's Health Reporter