60 Minutes Australia: The killer storm

All Australians are used to weathering frequent and ferocious thunderstorms, but the one that raced through country Victoria and slammed into Melbourne on 21 November 2016 was loaded with unexpected peril. Within a matter of minutes the entire city was left gasping for air in a mass asthma epidemic.

Thousands were struck down, including many who weren’t even asthmatic. Emergency services were unable to cope with the number of calls for assistance and hospital emergency departments were overflowing with distressed patients. Tragically, nine people died that terrible day. What caused it was a highly unusual phenomenon called “Thunderstorm Asthma”, but this outbreak was the most severe and catastrophic the world has ever seen.

In a special 60 Minutes investigation Tara Brown reveals that what is even more frightening is that it will happen again. The problem though is that no one knows where or when. (Courtesy: Nine Network Australia)

ABC Catalyst: Thunderstorm Asthma

ABC Catalyst’s Tanya Ha and Deakin University’s Associate Professor Cenk Suphioglu discuss ‘Thunderstorm Asthma’ after the November 2010 epidemic in Melbourne, Australia. We hear why these epidemics occur, and particularly why Victoria’s conditions make it such a hotspot.

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