Death toll up in Aussie ‘thun­der­storm asthma’

The Myanmar Times - - World -

THE death toll from Aus­tralia’s “thun­der­storm asthma” episode has risen to six and three oth­ers are in crit­i­cal con­di­tion, author­i­ties said as they as­sessed the fallout from the un­prece­dented event.

Four vic­tims – rang­ing from the ages of 18 to 35 – were last week linked to the un­usual weather phe­nom­e­non, where a thun­der­storm co­in­cided with a high pollen count and sent more than 8500 pa­tients to hos­pi­tal emer­gency rooms.

The rare event in Aus­tralia’s south­ern state of Vic­to­ria trig­gered res­pi­ra­tory problems for asthma and hay fever suf­fer­ers.

“There have now been six deaths that may have oc­curred as a re­sult of con­di­tions re­lat­ing to the thun­der­storm asthma events last Mon­day,” Vic­to­ria’s health depart­ment spokesper­son said.

“Five pa­tients are con­tin­u­ing to re­ceive spe­cial­ist ICU care in hos­pi­tals with three crit­i­cal.”

A fur­ther 12 peo­ple were be­ing treated for res­pi­ra­tory and other health problems, he added.

Vic­to­ria Health Min­is­ter Jill Hen­nessy said the de­mand for am­bu­lances was so acute at one point that “it was like hav­ing 150 bombs go­ing off right across a par­tic­u­lar part of metropoli­tan Mel­bourne”.

The gov­ern­ment has launched a re­view into how emer­gency and health ser­vices can bet­ter re­spond and man­age such events. –

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