BOX OF TREASURES – Haida artist Holly Churchill, of Ketchikan, shows Sitka High School senior Myles Magie a weaving technique on a cedar bark basket Wednesday in the Sitka High art room. Churchill finished a three-week residency today sponsored by the Sitka School District and Sealaska Heritage Institute's Sharing Our Box of Treasures" program. Her residency included work in the high school's new dual-credit program with UAS, the Northwest Coast Arts class, and sessions with Blatchley Middle School and the Sitka Native Education Program Culture Class. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Alaska Reports Its 1st Case of Vaping Injury

By RACHEL D’ORO
Associated Press
    ANCHORAGE (AP) — Alaska’s first confirmed vaping injury case is a teenager who is recovering in a hospital, state officials said today.
    Until the announcement, Alaska was the only state without a vaping injury or death linked to e-cigarettes or THC products.
    The teenager regularly vaped nicotine, as well as THC products that originated in the Lower 48, state epidemiologist Joe McLaughlin said.
    “This case really underscores that Alaska in not insulated from this nationwide outbreak,” he said. “We’re concerned we will see additional cases.”
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 2,290 lung-injury cases were reported as of Nov. 20 in 49 states, two U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
    A total of 47 vaping deaths have been confirmed, the agency said.
    The Alaska teen was hospitalized Thanksgiving Day, said McLaughlin, declining to release the teenager’s name.
    The otherwise healthy teen complained of symptoms that included shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea after developing a cough in early November.
    The teenager was initially given antibiotics, but the teen’s condition grew worse and led to hospitalization.
    “Fortunately, this patient is recovering and hopefully will be discharged from the hospital soon,” McLaughlin said.
    Symptoms of vaping illness can be similar to the flu, McLaughlin said.
    The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services previously investigated nine suspected lung-injury cases over the past several months.

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