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Two dead as Melbourne storm causes spike in respiratory problems

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MELBOURNE: A major storm that hit Melbourne on Monday night has reportedly caused a mass outbreak of an illness known as ‘thunderstorm asthma’. Two people also died in its wake.

Reports said that an unprecedented number of people fell acutely ill on Monday after the storm struck at around 6pm.

Two people in Melbourne’s west died, including a man waiting 30 minutes for an ambulance.

A long exposure photograph shows lightning strikes close to the Haitian Capital, Port-au-Prince, on September 21, 2016, during an evening thunderstorm. / AFP / HECTOR RETAMAL (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)

According to ABC News, hospital staff say “they’ve never seen so many people” in emergency with same condition

Hospitals were swamped with emergency patients, while firefighters and police were called on to help paramedics respond to thousands of calls after the conditions caused breathing problems for Victorians.

Ambulance Victoria emergency operations general manager Mick Stephenson said two people died in Melbourne’s western suburbs after reporting respiratory symptoms.

High Winds Hit Melbourne As Cold Front Moves Through Victoria

“We do know of those two cases and there will be other people who died in Victoria yesterday as well,” he said.

“Whether or not they’re related to this phenomena, we don’t yet know. We’ll have to review each incident and, as I say, in the fullness of time we’ll understand whether or not they are related.”

Around 200 people called and said they had asthma specifically, while another 600 reported breathing problems.

 

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