Thunderstorm asthma — a timely reminder

Megan L Howden, Christine F McDonald and Michael F Sutherland
Med J Aust 2011; 195 (9): . || doi: 10.5694/mja11.11044
Published online: 7 November 2011

To the Editor: The approach of spring, together with high winter rainfall in and around Melbourne,1 heralds another severe pollen season, raising the risk of allergic rhinitis and asthma in pollen-sensitive individuals. It is therefore timely to report an epidemic of “thunderstorm asthma” that occurred in Melbourne during spring 2010.

  • Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Austin Health, Melbourne, VIC.


Competing interests:

Christine McDonald has received funding (for advisory board membership, research and conference attendance) from GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and Novartis. Michael Sutherland has received honoraria for lectures from AstraZeneca and Stallergenes.

  • 1. Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology. Annual climate summary 2010. (accessed Jul 2011).
  • 2. Suphioglu C, Singh M, Taylor P, et al. Mechanism of grass-pollen-induced asthma. Lancet 1992; 339: 569-572.
  • 3. Bellomo R, Gigliotti P, Treloar A, et al. Two consecutive thunderstorm associated epidemics of asthma in the city of Melbourne. The possible role of rye grass pollen. Med J Aust 1992; 156: 834-837.
  • 4. Taylor P, Jonsson H. Thunderstorm asthma. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep 2004; 4: 409-413.
  • 5. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “Thunderstorm asthma” reaches epidemic proportions. (accessed Jul 2011).


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