In addition to providing an update on the cases, Washington Post reports that the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations opened its own criminal probe into the matter earlier this summer shortly after reports of the illness were published. "He started out with shortness of breath and it rapidly progressed and deteriorated, developing into what is called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)". "Once the lungs are injured by vaping, we don't know how quickly it worsens and if it depends on other risk factors".
A bipartisan group in Congress is working with parents to keep teenagers away from e-cigarettes, while accusing the vaping industry of marketing to kids.
The department is recommending that Virginians "consider not using any e-cigarette products".
According to the CDC, more than half the patients are under 25, with two-thirds between 18 and 34, and 16% under 18.
Finding the source of the illness is proving to be highly challenging, Zeller and Schuchat said, with no single product, device or substance being common to all of the people who've developed the illness.
"In cases like this, we typically turn to [the] OCI", said Mitch Zeller, the director of the Center for Tobacco Products at the FDA.
Some of the first cases appeared in April.
"We do expect others", Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, told reporters, referring to the number of deaths. "The focus of their work is to identify what is making people sick, as well as a focus on the supply chain".
But he cautioned against vape or e-cigarette usage.
Health officials urged people not to buy vaping products off the street or modify them.
Some people - especially youth and young adults, women who are pregnant and adults who do not now smoke - should not vape, CDC officials said.
Zeller said the FDA has collected and is analyzing more than 150 vaping product samples from a number of states for "the presence of a broad range of chemicals, including nicotine, THC and other cannabinoids, along with opioids, cutting agents or dilutions, and other additives, pesticides, poisons and toxins".
If people who vape experience symptoms, they should seek medical care.