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Vaping-related lung injuries harder to diagnose amid COVID-19

Posted at 12:07 PM, Jul 28, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — Health officials are seeing a rise in vaping-related lung injuries—known as E-VALI—but the illness has become more difficult to diagnose because some of its similarity to COVID-19, according to a recent report by Forbes.

"The challenge is, when we see someone with shortness of breath and low oxygen, we want to make sure that we're, first of all, finding out about the vaping history, which sometimes is, difficult to obtain, and then we really have to be sure to exclude COVID before we go down the road of E-VALI, even in patients who vape," said Dr. Denitza Blagev, a pulmonary and critical-care physician at Intermountain Healthcare.

E-VALI and COVID-19 share several symptoms, including shortness of breath, cough, fever and chills, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, according to the CDC and Yale Medicine.

In April, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) received reports of eight people who were hospitalized with E-VALI symptoms and all eight tested negative for COVID-19. The next month, CDPH, issued a health alert to provisionally update the state's E-VALI case definition to require a negative COVID-19 test.