Rare thun­der­storm asthma kills 4 peo­ple

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

A rare con­di­tion known as thun­der­storm asthma sent hun­dreds of peo­ple to hos­pi­tals in Aus­tralia’s se­cond-largest city, and four deaths had been con­firmed by yes­ter­day. Fam­ily con­firmed Clarence Leo, a night­club bouncer and fa­ther of two, died at home early Tues­day morn­ing af­ter the wild thun­der­storm in Mel­bourne on Mon­day night caused rain-sod­den rye­grass pollen to ex­plode and dis­perse over the city. The pollen caused asthma at­tacks in some pa­tients who had never suf­fered from asthma be­fore. Am­bu­lance Vic­to­ria re­sponded to more than 1,870 cases, which was six-times the usual work­load for a Mon­day evening, spokesman Mick Stephen­son said. Pro­fes­sor Ge­orge Brait­berg, head of the Royal Mel­bourne Hos­pi­tal’s emer­gency de­part­ment, likened the scene in the hos­pi­tal on Mon­day night to a war zone. Seven asthma pa­tients had been trans­ferred to the hos­pi­tal’s in­ten­sive care unit, he said. Some pa­tients had never be­fore had asthma at­tacks, he said. “I’ve been an emer­gency physi­cian for about 35 years, worked in a num­ber of hos­pi­tals, and I can say, hand on heart, that I have not seen this be­fore,” Brait­berg told Ten Net­work tele­vi­sion.

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