Students at Southern Indiana high school hospitalized

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U.S. health officials announced a breakthrough Friday into the cause of a mysterious outbreak of vaping illnesses, reporting they have a “very strong culprit.” (Nov. 8)

AP Domestic

Southern Indiana officials said they are investigating after evidence of vaping following the hospitalization of eight students at Madison Consolidated High School.

Madison Consolidated High School officials announced in a news release Thursday that eight students in the past four days were taken to the emergency room of King’s Daughters’ Hospital with similar symptoms, including “elevated heart rate, dilated pupils, fluctuated breath patterns, some limpness or in some cases a loss of consciousness.”

“In all of these particular situations, there has been confirmed evidence of vaping and/or paraphernalia including pods and cartridges,” the news release said.

Additional information on the students, such as their ages, has not been released.

Officials at the high school in Madison, located about 50 miles northeast of Louisville, said they are working with the hospital, Jefferson County (Indiana) Health Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, Madison Police Department and Indiana State Department of Health to “determine similarities in symptoms, treatment, and analyze any toxicology screens to try and narrow down possibilities.”

More: Kentucky House committee advances bill to raise taxes on vaping products

Three school resource officers are leading the “high-priority, ongoing investigation,” officials said.

“At this point, safety is our primary concern,” one of the school resource officers, Jacob McVey, said in the news release. “We are investigating a number of leads and encourage students to immediately cease use of these types of devices. Our primary focus is to determine the contents and origin of these devices and what, if anything, may be contained in these pods.”

Madison Consolidated High School officials said in the release that the latest incident “confirms and presents a larger, continued concern regarding the use of JUUL” and other vaping devices.

Schools in Indiana, Kentucky and other states have reported incidents in the past year of students requiring medical treatment possibly due to using “black market” e-cigarette devices that contain various chemicals and traces of vitamin E acetate, which is often found in THC products.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vitamin E acetate was linked to the outbreak of a severe lung illness that, since it was first reported last summer, has killed at least 64 people and hospitalized over 2,700 Americans in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

The city of Louisville along with numerous Kentucky school districts and individual users have joined multidistrict litigation against Juul, which controls nearly 75% of the e-cigarette market. 

Previously: Kentucky announces its first vaping-related death in the state

Madison Consolidated High School officials said they “continue to be as diligent as possible with hallway and restroom area supervision.”

“We have also placed additional nursing staff at MCHS as a precaution to address any cases that may present until more is understood about the situation,” the school said in the news release. “As always, we ask all students to be aware of their surroundings and if you see something that looks suspicious, please alert an adult in the building immediately.”

Reach Billy Kobin at bkobin@courierjournal.com or 502-582-7030. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: courier-journal.com/subscribe.

Read or Share this story: https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/local/indiana/2020/02/14/vaping-students-madison-southern-indiana-high-school-hospitalized/4758945002/

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