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Patients with thunderstorm asthma or severe asthma in Melbourne: a comparison

Michael F Sutherland, Emma Le Portelli, Allison L Collins, Muhammad Aziz Rahman and Christine F McDonald
Med J Aust 2017; 207 (10): 434-435. || doi: 10.5694/mja17.00780

The Melbourne epidemic thunderstorm asthma (ETA) event of 21/22 November 2016 was unprecedented in size and health impact.1 There is an urgent need to understand the characteristics of the people who were affected. We therefore sought to characterise the patients with ETA who attended Austin Health, a metropolitan teaching hospital in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, during the event, and to compare them with patients with severe asthma.

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  • Michael F Sutherland1
  • Emma Le Portelli1
  • Allison L Collins2
  • Muhammad Aziz Rahman3
  • Christine F McDonald1

  • 1 Austin Health, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2 Research Institute for Breathing and Sleep, Austin Health, Melbourne, VIC
  • 3 Austin Clinical School of Nursing, La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC


Competing interests:

Michael Sutherland has received speaking fees from Astra Zeneca.

  • 1. Inspector-General for Emergency Management. Review of response to the thunderstorm asthma event of 21–22 November 2016. Final report. Melbourne: Victorian Government, 2017. http://www.igem.vic.gov.au/documents/CD/17/233820 (accessed Sept 2017).
  • 2. Olivieri M, Heinrich J, Schlunssen V, et al. The risk of respiratory symptoms on allergen exposure increases with increasing specific IgE levels. Allergy 2016; 71: 859-868.
  • 3. Gauvreau GM, El-Gammal AJ, O’Byrne PM, Allergen-induced airway responses. Eur Respir J 2015: 46: 819-831.
  • 4. Girgis ST, Marks GB, Downs SH, et al. Thunderstorm-associated asthma in an inland town in south-eastern Australia. Who is at risk? Eur Respir J 2000; 16: 3-8.

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