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CDC says vaping lung illness cases now top 2,000

A man poses for a picture as he vapes at a vape shop.

Daniel Becerril | Reuters

A vaping-related lung disease has sickened at least 2,051 people and killed 39, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

Health officials are calling the disease EVALI, short for e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury. Doctors started noticing the illness in the spring before the outbreak ramped up over the summer, prompting doctors in Wisconsin and Illinois to sound the alarm.

The CDC and Food and Drug Administration are still hunting for a cause — or causes — of the deadly illness. The agencies are focusing their investigations on vaping products that contain THC, the compound that produces a high in marijuana.

Two top health officials will testify before Congress on the response to the outbreak next week. CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat and the director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, Mitch Zeller, will appear before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Wednesday.

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