The Victorian Department of Health has issued a statement confirming that a ninth person has died as a result of the ‘thunderstorm asthma’ epidemic that hit Melbourne in late November last year.

The event, dubbed the worst in history by experts, saw immense strain placed on Melbourne’s hospitals and ambulances as some 8,500 people attended emergency departments presenting symptoms of asthma.

The mechanics of the phenomenon are still poorly understood, but the working theory is that the extreme weather conditions distribute and break apart pollen, allowing pollen that usually would be filtered out by noise hairs to enter the lungs, which in turn triggers an asthma attack.

The statement, released this afternoon, says that no patients remain in hospital following the event, and that, with pollen season over, they do not anticipate any more thunderstorm-related asthma events in the near future. They do, however, urge people to take the usual precautions and seek medical help if experiencing a serious attack.

You can read the full statement below:

“A ninth person has died following the unprecedented thunderstorm asthma events on November 21 last year.

No further patients remain in hospital.

“The pollen season is now over in Victoria for this season and we do not expect to see thunderstorm activity triggering asthma or similar respiratory problems.

“However, asthmatics should continue to take medication as usual, to seek help as required from their GP or a health professional.

“In the case of an acute asthma attack, as always, an ambulance may be needed.

“People experiencing asthma like symptoms for the first time should visit their GP for advice and if appropriate develop an asthma management plan.”

Source: Victorian Department Of Health And Human Services.

Photo: Twitter / Matthew Wu.