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    A Girl Went Viral After Getting Chlamydia In Her Lungs From Vaping, So We Spoke To An Expert Who Explained How It Can Happen

    "You have chlamydia in your lungs from vaping and smoking a bad cart."

    TikTok user @germanshepardfanaccount went viral after she told people she contracted chlamydia in her lungs from smoking a bad vape cartridge.

    NBC

    In her video, which has nearly 2 million views, she plays the "put a finger down" trend, saying: "So, put a finger down if, um, in October you got super, super sick with pneumonia and you tried to tell everybody in your family that you felt like it was something more than that...Um, you tried to tell the doctors and the hospitals that it was something more than that — you suffered with a fever for almost 13 days. Nobody believed you, they just kept testing you for COVID, testing you for antibodies, testing you for hepatitis, literally anything — everything was negative. Finally, it comes back that you have chlamydia in your lungs from vaping and smoking a bad cart."

    You can watch the full TikTok here.

    BuzzFeed was unable to get in contact with the user, but she did confirm some information in the comments:

    @germanshepardfanaccount / tiktok.com

    She said her condition worsened because she was smoking nicotine and her recovery was prolonged because her lungs were compromised from vaping.

    She confirmed that it was from a Salt Nicotine vape:

    She said "they're called Cali air lmao"
    @germanshepardfanaccount / tiktok.com

    And that the bacteria in her lungs came directly from the cartridge:

    @germanshepardfanaccount / tiktok.com

    Some people who've been through the same thing shared their stories:

    This happened to my brother!! He was in the icu for 3 weeks!! His lungs almost collapsed!! That's why they need to legalize it everywhere!
    @germanshepardfanaccount / tiktok.com

    However, the comments were also filled with people sharing all the illnesses they've contracted from bad vape cartridges. Like this person whose friend got parasites:

    My friend had parasites coming out of him from a bad cart! He didn't learn his lesson th
    @germanshepardfanaccount / tiktok.com

    This person ended up in a coma from a bad cart:

    I didn't get chlamydia but i did get a coma [smiley face emoji] anyways all carts are bad so be safe and smoke flower
    @germanshepardfanaccount / tiktok.com

    This person's lung collapsed from one:

    @germanshepardfanaccount / tiktok.com

    And this person was diagnosed with EVALI, which is a dangerous, newly identified lung disease linked to vaping:

    I was super sick in October 2, they did ALL kinds of tests. CT-MRI-Ultra Sound - blood work/all kinds of test. I vape too. Their conclusion EVALI
    @germanshepardfanaccount / tiktok.com

    Because all of this information can be a bit overwhelming and scary, BuzzFeed spoke to Dr. Luis Chug, who is quadruple board certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine.

    The correct terminology for "chlamydia in your lungs" is Chlamydia Pneumoniae (or C. Pneumoniae). C. Pneumoniae is a bacteria that causes respiratory tract and lung infections. "The Chlamydia family contains a total of 11 species, 3 of which can infect humans: C. Pneumoniae, C. Trachomatis and C. Psittaci. The only ones that can cause infection in the lungs in adults are C. Pneumoniae and C. Psittaci — the latter is less common and from birds," said Dr. Chug.

    "The C. Trachomatis is the most common bacterial cause of sexually transmitted genital infections, or STDs. It does not cause lung infection, but it has been detected in the throat using special tests," he added.

    Dr. Chug said Chlamydia Pneumoniae is not an STD and is most commonly transferred from person to person through respiratory droplets and small particle aerosolization. The rate of infection in adults varies widely — ranging from less than 1% to 20% of cases. "It is believed that most cases have no symptoms, but those who do develop symptoms tend to have mild ones, such as cough, shortness of breath, and fever."

    A man, who's holding a coffee mug, and a woman, who's coughing and also. holding a mug, sitting in bed
    Zinkevych / Getty Images

    C. Pneumoniae is treated like any other bacterial pneumonia, which is with antibiotics.

    When it comes to contracting it from a tainted vape cartridge, it is unknown how common it is. "I would say if you’re going to vape, only purchase your pens and cartridges from a reputable source — and don’t share your pen with anyone else, especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic."

    A pile of vape cartridges
    Ethan Candelario / Getty Images

    In general, Dr. Chug believes that those who experience respiratory complications from vaping are likely to have asthma exacerbation, bacterial pneumonia, or EVALI.

    A man vaping
    Rattanakun Thongbun / Getty Images

    Some commenters said they had been diagnosed EVALI. "EVALI is thought to be caused by the additives used in vape cartridges — THC, vitamin E acetate, etc. The symptoms include shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, fever, and gastrointestinal symptoms. It shares a similar presentation to bacterial pneumonias and is sometimes difficult to differentiate, so antibiotics are initiated promptly until a bacterial pneumonia has been excluded," he explained.

    A woman holding a cigarette and coughing as she sits at her desk
    Djelics / Getty Images

    Vaping is not necessarily "safer" if you're trying to quit tobacco — or smoke in a "less damaging" way. Dr. Chug said, "The limited available clinical trials suggest that e-cigarrettes may be effective as smoking cessation aids, but more trials are needed to evaluate the safety and efficacy. It is advised that you discontinue both conventional cigarettes and e-cigarettes in order to avoid whatever longer-term risk may be associated with e-cigarettes compared to available pharmacotherapies — therapy using pharmaceutical drugs — to quit smoking. No e-cigarette has been approved by the FDA, so smokers who are willing to quit smoking should be encouraged to use FDA-approved medications for smoking cessation."

    A woman leaning against a wall and vaping
    Pakkawit Anantaya / Getty Images

    As people shared in the comments on the viral TikTok, there are a number of other illnesses that can arise when it comes to vaping and using e-cigarettes. Dr. Chug recommends pharmacotherapy if you're trying to quit.

    TL;DR: Chlamydia Pneumoniae is a bacterial infection that can spread to the respiratory tract and lungs — it is NOT an STD. It is most commonly passed from person to person through respiratory droplets in the air. However, you can catch it from a dirty vape pen or cartridge.

    ABC

    Special thanks to Dr. Chug for his insight. If you want to learn more, be sure to follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok!

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