NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- State health officials are reporting six Tennessee cases of the new respiratory illness that seems to be tied to electronic cigarette use.
State epidemiologist Dr. Tim Jones says medical experts are in the dark as to what’s causing the illness, which began cropping up in hospital rooms in late June.
"We're seeing such a sudden increase that, clearly, there’s something new going on. It hasn’t yet been specifically identified... but clearly something is different."
As of Monday, federal officials have identified about 450 possible cases, including as many as five deaths, in 33 states. The count includes newly reported deaths in California, Indiana and Minnesota.
The state Department of Health has renewed its Health Advisory concerning the use of e-cigarette devices. The department is urging caution, noting that “there are still significant unknowns as to the short- and long-term health impacts upon individuals.”