An unusual combination of weather conditions leading to a disease known as "thunderstorm asthma" killed four people in Australia. Thousands of people were taken to hospital on Monday with breathing problems in the southern Australian state of Victoria. Emergency services are struggling to cope with the situation.
Three of the injured are still in critical condition, said the representative of the Department of health. Monday for 4 hours, the ambulance received more than 1900 calls, or one call every 4-5 seconds. 60 ambulances were deployed, and police and fire.
"Thunderstorm asthma" occurs when a storm occurs during the unusually high blossom pollen, said Robin Wilde, Executive Director of the Foundation of Australia. "High humidity, wind and thunderstorm mixed with pollen and grass pollen absorbs moisture and then breaks into thousands of fragments." The pollen irritates the bronchi, causing them to become inflamed and it becomes difficult to breathe.
Although grass pollen is the most common known cause of "thunderstorm asthma" attacks can also be caused by excessive levels of tree pollen and accumulation of fungi spores in the atmosphere. Of the more than 2,500 people interviewed in the University, 74% said they experienced an asthma attack during a storm. Of these, 32% have never experienced an asthma attack before.
One of the victims, 18-year-old Omar Moralled, just finished my last year of school at Australian International Academy Melbourne. Two killed 35-year-old Apollo Papadopoulos and 20-year-old Hope Carnevali was also killed during the storm. Fourth victim Clarence Leo was the father of two children.
Experts say that cases of "thunderstorm asthma" was seen in the UK, USA, Italy and Canada, but the terms "very low," said Newbigin.
sections: Accidents, World News