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Two Dead And Dozens In Intensive Care After Storm Causes Mass Asthma Outbreak In Victoria

The Victorian Health Minister has announced a review into the tragic event.

22/11/2016 7:15 AM AEDT | Updated 22/11/2016 10:33 PM AEDT
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Two people have died and thousands more have been impacted by so-called "thunderstorm asthma" caused by wild winds coinciding with a high pollen count in Melbourne.

Hospitals in the Victorian capital reported a spike in patients with breathing troubles showing up at emergency departments overnight, with Ambulance Victoria even forced to issue a special alert on Twitter.

Ambulance Victoria confirmed to the Huffington Post Australia on Tuesday that two people passed away in the asthma thunderstorm event. The two people who died had breathing issues, authorities told reporters.

Twenty-year-old law student Hope Carnevali died on the front lawn of her family's home waiting 40 minutes for emergency services.

Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy has announced a review into the mass outbreak as hospitals were inundated with more than 1000 Victorians calling her medical help.

Hennessy said the event was a "great challenge" for emergency services and "there will no doubt be a full review of what occurred last night and what the clinical outcomes were."

"No doubt there will be lessons to learn, there always are in these cases. But every part of our emergency management surge occurred correctly," Hennessy told media.

The surge of wild weather also tore roofs off homes after a day in which metro temperatures reached 38 degrees. The State Emergency Service reportedly logged more than 350 calls for assistance.

The weather system also led to the loss of power from 13,000 homes, with the suburbs of Altona, Altona Meadows and Wyndham Vale taking much of the brunt of the storm, according to the Nine Network.

St Vincents Hospital spokeswoman Kathy Bowlen told 3AW that doctors were confronted with a jump in patients, especially those reporting breathing troubles, last night.

"We were totally inundated," she told the radio station. "We had a whole lot of our staff called in last night.

"The emergency department was actually considering opening a temporary ED in the foyer of the hospital, just to cope with the demand."

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