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Australian asthma storm claims sixth victim

SYDNEY – A sixth person has died in the Australian city of Melbourne after a storm triggered thousands of pollen allergy asthma attacks, the Victorian government said on Sunday.

Heavy rain and wind on Monday, as the spring peaks in the southern state of Victoria, allowed rye pollen grass to absorb moisture and burst into smaller particles that the pollen count rising.

“This was a tragic and unforeseen event and hospitals continue to treat 12 people for a variety of respiratory and other conditions with respect to the, in addition to those in the care in the ICU,” a Victorian health department spokesman said in a statement.

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Five patients are still a specialist intensive care treatment in hospital and three people are in critical condition, the spokesman said.

On Monday and Tuesday, the hospital treated more than 8,500 patients, according to the Victorian department of health.

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