DHSS reports first case of EVALI

A teenager from Southeast Alaska has been identified by state health officials as the first victim in the state with vaping product use associated lung injury.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services said on Tuesday, Dec. 3, that the patient is currently hospitalized, but clinically improving. The patient reportedly engaged in regular use of vaping nicotine and THC products.

THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol is one of at least 113 cannabinoids identified in cannabis, also known as marijuana. The THC vaping products reportedly originated from outside of Alaska.

A total of nine suspected EVALI (E-cigarette or Vaping Product Use-Associated Lung Injury) cases were investigated by DHSS over the past several months. However, this is the first one to meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s case definition for EVALI.

Until now, Alaska was the only state without a single reported case of EVALI. As of Nov. 20, 2,290 cases of lung illness have been reported to CDC from 49 states, the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories. A total of 47 deaths have been confirmed in 25 states and in D.C.

Typically with EVALI, the patients show respiratory symptoms such as cough, chest pain and shortness of breath; gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; and constitutional symptoms such as fever, chills and weight loss.


DHSS officials recommend avoiding e-cigarettes, or vaping products, particularly those containing THC, and any vaping products obtained from informal sources such as family or friends, or from illicit markets.