Death toll rises in ‘thunderstorm asthma’


SYDNEY: The death toll from Australia’s “thunderstorm asthma” episode has risen to six and three others are in critical condition, authorities said Sunday, 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 8,500 patients to hospital emergency departments. The rare event in Australia’s southern state of Victoria triggered respiratory problems for asthma and hay fever sufferers. A further 12 people were being treated for respiratory and other health problems, he added. No further details were released about the two latest victims.



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