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Bushfires: Australia issues health warnings as Sydney air quality plummets

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 10 December 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6914
  1. Bianca Nogrady
  1. Sydney
Getty Images

Large bushfires have shrouded Australia’s east coast in dense smoke, prompting health authorities to issue warnings as Sydney’s air quality index exceeded hazardous levels by a factor of 10.1

The number of people across New South Wales presenting to hospital emergency departments with respiratory problems increased by around 25% above the usual weekly average for the first week of December, and ambulance callouts are up by around 30%, says a report from NSW Health, the state health department.2

Sydney is in one of the worst affected areas. On 10 December the city’s air quality index—a composite score of levels of ozone, carbon monoxide, …

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