BOSTON (WGGB/WSHM) -- Massachusetts officials are issuing a new mandate to health professionals amid growing concerns over vaping-related diseases.

Using her authority under state regulations, Mass. Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. is requiring any suspected cases of unexplained e-cigarette or vaping-associated pulmonary diseases to be reported immediately to Mass. DPH.

"We are beginning to hear from clinicians about what they are seeing in their practice as a result of the health alert...Today’s action establishes the legal framework for healthcare providers to report cases and suspected cases so that we can get a better sense of the overall burden of disease in Massachusetts. It also will allow us to provide case counts to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as they continue to try to understand the nationwide impact of vaping-related disease," Bharel noted.

The mandate was sent to all clinicians in the state, along with an advisory that asks providers to report any case of a person experiencing otherwise unexplained progressive symptoms of shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, cough, or weight loss, of any severity, as well as any abnormal chest imaging study associated with vaping.

Mass. DPH is actively investigating several suspected vaping-associated pulmonary cases, but noted that no cases have been confirmed in Massachusetts.

The requirement is in effect for the next 12 months.

Western Mass News will continue to follow this story and will have more information as it becomes available

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