Death toll from Australia’s thunderstorm asthma reaches 6

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Six people have died and five remain on life support after a rare condition known as thunderstorm asthma struck Australia’s second-largest city.

The Health Department says the sixth victim died in a hospital on Saturday night from medical complications stemming from a wild thunderstorm that struck Melbourne on Monday night.

The statement says five patients remain in intensive care units and three of those are in critical condition.

Monday’s storm caused rain-sodden ryegrass pollen to explode and disperse over the city, with tiny pollen particles penetrating deep into lungs. Around a third of patients who suffered asthma attacks on Monday reported never having asthma before.

The storm overwhelmed emergency services and hospitals in this city of 4.5 million people.

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