Four Dead and Many Critical After Melbourne ‘Thunderstorm Asthma’

Published On:November 24, 2016, 12:34 pm

A very rare combination of weather conditions resulted in a freak illness known as “thunderstorm asthma” has left four people dead in Australia.

Three people remain in a critical condition after Melbourne's "thunderstorm asthma" emergency, with a number more in intensive care units, Victoria's health department says.

In a rare case, at least four people died and all the emergency services and hospitals were deluged with patients a Melbourne was struck with a rare condition called "thunderstorm asthma". Police and firefighters were roped in to assist the paramedics respond to thousands of calls for assistance. Thousands of people were affected by the condition on Monday; post a heavy rain caused the rye grass pollen to absorb moisture and burst, and thereby dispersing tiny particles which became trapped in people's lungs.

Expert doctors were monitoring the condition of various patients who are yet admitted in the hospital, according to A Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) spokesperson. A statement said, "There continues to be patients in metropolitan Melbourne intensive care units associated with this event, with three in a critical condition,"

Further, the spokesperson said the DHHS was aware "of a number of deaths that may be associated with thunderstorm asthma", which were into probe.

He stated that "Due to the complex nature and scale of the event further comment is not appropriate until a cause of death has been attributed for these cases," "It is expected this will be closely examined as part of the Inspector-General of Emergency Management's state-wide review."

The four confirmed victims are Omar Moujalled, 18, Hope Carnevali, 20, Apollo Papadopoulos, 35, and Clarence Leo.

Mr. Moujalled, a student at the Australian International Academy at Coburg North, was only days away from finishing high school.

'Like 150 bombs going off across Melbourne'

On Thursday morning, Victoria's Health Minister stated that around seven people were still in the intensive care unit, however a number were predicted to be releases into the general wards of the hospital.

Also, according to the doctors many of those affected had cardiac conditions. She said, "Of the 8,500 people that were presenting to emergency departments on Monday and Tuesday, those with cardiac and chest pain featured very, very prominently,"

According to Ambulance Victoria said that the incident has caused an "extraordinary and unpredictable increase in demand" for the services. 200 triple-0 calls coming in during the first 15 minutes from 7 p.m., where they otherwise expect 30 calls.

Ms Hennessey, who has ordered a review into the emergency, said Monday night's events were, has no precedent.

When we've had people calling for ambulances — one call every four-and-a-half seconds at the peak — it was like having 150 bombs going off right across a particular part of metropolitan Melbourne," she said.

"That's something we've never planned for and we need to do that better."

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