Death toll from Australia's thunderstorm asthma reaches 8

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - Eight people have died and one person remains on life support more than a week after a rare condition known as thunderstorm asthma struck Australia's second-largest city.

A Health Department statement says the latest two victims died in hospital intensive care units on Monday night and Tuesday morning from medical complications stemming from a wild thunderstorm that struck Melbourne on Nov. 21.

Another patient remains in intensive care. Another six are in hospitals with less serious respiratory and related conditions.

Last week's storm caused rain-sodden ryegrass pollen grains to explode and disperse over the city, with tiny pollen particles penetrating deep into lungs. Around a third of patients who suffered asthma attacks reported never having asthma before.

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