Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Strange phenomenon called “thunderstorm asthma” kills two and brings Melbourne hospitals to breaking point after disaster event


Photo International Business Times
  • 'Hospitals at breaking point'
  • Ambulance Victoria ran out of ambulances and had to call in police officers, firefighters, non-emergency patient vehicles and field doctors trained for disasters to help with transporting acutely ill patients to hospital.
  • Ambulance Victoria was flooded with more than 1900 calls between 6pm and 11pm – more than six times their usual workload 
  • Patients blacking out and waking up in hospital
  • Unprecedented number of people who fell acutely sick
It was the seemingly typical thunderstorm that rapidly escalated into a "disaster event".
Two dead after 'thunderstorm asthma' triggers disaster response
The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting two dead with an unprecedented number of people who fell acutely sick on Monday evening after a strange phenomenon called “thunderstorm asthma.”
Ambulance Victoria was flooded with more than 1900 calls between 6pm and 11pm – more than six times their usual workload – after a storm hit Melbourne shortly before 6pm, prompting a "major disaster response" from emergency services.
"We were seeing asthma in people who had not experienced breathing issues before."
Hospitals across Victoria were left reeling, with depleted supplies of asthma spray Ventolin reported, and emergency services battled to respond to calls for help when rain and strong winds churned up pollen, dust and other irritants.
The demand was so great that Ambulance Victoria ran out of ambulances and had to call in police officers, firefighters, non-emergency patient vehicles and field doctors trained for disasters to help with transporting acutely ill patients to hospital. Mr Stephenson said he even worked through the night, treating patients. 
Is “thunderstorm asthma” a new thing?

Thunderstorm asthma was first described in 1992 in Melbourne, following two epidemics in November 1987 and November 1989. Another event occurred in 2011 and the fourth on Monday night. Epidemics of thunderstorm asthma have also been described in Wagga Wagga, Naples, Birmingham and London. Full story

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Tropical end to summer this week in many parts of Europe as the mercury is expected to hit 40C (104F)