Intended for healthcare professionals


Hospitals overwhelmed with patients after “thunderstorm asthma” hits Melbourne

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: (Published 28 November 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i6391
  1. Michael Woodhead
  1. Sydney

At least four people have died and thousands have been taken to hospital with respiratory problems after a “thunderstorm asthma” event in Melbourne on Monday 21 November.

Ambulance services and hospital emergency departments were overwhelmed by the unprecedented incident, believed to have been caused by a surge in pollen levels, triggering allergic asthma in vulnerable people.

Victoria’s health department said that since the event more than 8500 patients had presented to hospitals with respiratory problems, of whom 60 were still receiving treatment and five were in a critical condition.

Among the dead were a 35 year old man, a 20 year old female student, and an 18 year old high school student.

Respiratory physicians …

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