Dozens of Students Ill, One Dead – Cause Unknown

April 12, 2006 12:00 am Last Updated: April 12, 2006 12:00 am

On March 29, 2006, 19 students from Yidian High School in Qishan County, Shaanxi Province, China were reported to have a fever due to an unknown cause. By the end of April 10, more than 30 students have been hospitalized, and one student has died. Hospital staff said that the disease appeared to be highly contagious. The source of the disease remains unknown.

Last week, more than 500 students from the Henan Science University, located in Luoyang City, Henan Province, suffered from fevers. Due to the symptoms' similarity to those of SARS, the World Health Organization has requested that the Chinese Ministry of Health provide more information.

Xi'An Evening News reported that Yidian High School was closed for a week. Nearby residents said that many students had fevers and the school was concerned about infecting more students. The school closed on April 7 and students have been required to report to their teachers if their health conditions change.

Mr. Su, a parent of a student, said that his child began having a fever and cough three days ago. His symptoms were similar to that of the other students. The fevers were all quite high. The number of people infected has been continuously growing.

All of the patients at the Third Station of Qishan County Hospital are students who have fevers. A sign outside the Third Station reads, “Staff Only.” All of the staff wear mouth masks, and the area is being sprayed with disinfectants frequently.

Some parents of the patients said that their children were diagnosed with pneumonia. However, the fever was not going down, and the disease appeared to have been spreading fast. Now only Yidian Township Hospital and Qishan County Hospital accept the fevered students. No other hospitals are allowed to admit them.

The student who died was a senior from Zaolin Township, Qishan County. After developing a fever, he was transferred to several hospitals and later sent to Xi'An City. His family members retrieved his body on April 7.

Mr. Lu Huming, director of Qishan County Health Department, said that the students had pneumonia and were infectious. A hospital staff revealed that the disease and its source have not been identified.