Thunderstorm Asthma: What We Know So Far About The Deadly Disease

A new deadly disease called Thunderstorm Asthma has killed six people in Australia. In addition, five people are on life support as the rare condition has struck Melbourne. The sixth patient passed away on Saturday after a thunderstorm had struck Australia's second-largest city. Here are five must-know facts about the deadly disease.

Victims

One of the victims of the disease was Omar Moujalled, 18. The Australian International Academy student just completed the final year of studies. His death comes as a shock to his friends as he was one of the fittest in the group. While he did have asthma, it became severe during the thunderstorm. He could not even stand up to go for treatment. Other Thunderstorm Asthma victims include Hope Carnevali, 20, and Apollo Papadopoulos, 35.

Cause

The strange illness is apparently caused by the thunderstorm. Hundreds of people admitted to hospital on Nov. 21. They complained of breathing problems in Victoria. Emergency services had a tough time to handle the rush. Ambulance Victoria got more than 1,900 calls in four hours. It got a call in every 4/5 seconds.

When thunderstorms hit high rye grass pollen, the disease takes place. According to Robin Ould, it happens during high pollen days. The chief executive of the Asthma Foundation of Australia explained the process.

"Normally with rye grass the pollen would be trapped by nose hairs. When it breaks up it goes straight to the lungs." FOX6Now quoted Ould as saying.

Symptoms

During the storm, the pollen enters the bronchial tubes of the lungs and causes irritation. Then, the tubes get inflamed and filled with mucus. That is why people find it difficult to breathe.

Treatment

According to Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology And Allergy, asthma can be easily cured with proper management of chronic pollen asthma. Allergen immunotherapy works for some patients to cure allergic rhinitis and improve seasonal asthma.

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