ST. PAUL (LEARFIELD) – In the wake of four recent cases of teens and young adults with severe lung disease possibly related to vaping, state health officials are raising awareness of the dangers.

“If they’re teenagers or developing symptoms that they know to talk to their teenagers and ask them about vaping,” said Dr. Ruth Lynfield, state epidemiologist. “And that doctors know about it too.”

Lynfield notes that in Minnesota symptoms have resulted in hospitalizations lasting multiple weeks–with some patients being admitted to the intensive care unit.

“When they were first hospitalized they were evaluated for infectious causes of their very severe respiratory symptoms, and it turned out negative,” said Lynfield. “But in further working with the patients they found out they had been vaping.”

Lynfield says the cases are similar to cases recently reported in both Wisconsin and Illinois, but she says it’s too early to say whether they are connected.

Symptoms include shortness of breath, fever, cough, vomiting and diarrhea.