In July, these students -- mostly from Pakistan and China -- were students. Now they're worried about making it home alive.
Zia Rahmani, 14, and Aisha Khawaja, 15, are among three students in Pudong, a shopping and residential district near Shanghai’s financial district, who have contracted the severe acute respiratory syndrome that has killed nearly 100 people in China. The victims include an American man, according to authorities.
On Monday, an Australian doctor who treated them at Pudong’s Children Hospital said their symptoms were consistent with severe acute respiratory syndrome.
“This is a highly, highly aggressive disease,” Paul Brammer, the Australian oncologist who treated their infections, told reporters. “We’re treating patients who are very ill.”
Those who recovered have been released from the hospital. According to the Wall Street Journal, the victim who died “had been suffering from respiratory failure and fluid build up in his lungs.”
The Pakistani students had studied business and IT at the Royal Cambridge Hospital in the U.K. and had gone to Pudong to get fitted for visas to return to the U.K.
During their stay, their illnesses developed rapidly, said Jesper Kjaergaard-Larsen, an acting chief executive at the Danish-China Joint Chamber of Commerce, which represents the schools they went to.
In December, they came down with “similar symptoms like the Indonesian boy with SARS,” Kjaergaard-Larsen said. “These three students, all of whom had frequent contact with each other, contracted SARS just like the others.”
China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine announced that their exposure may have included “the trading of raw materials, property of factories, plant and facilities, online commerce centers and hosting workplaces,” Kjaergaard-Larsen said.
The school refused to comment.
In August, China revised its SARS-related guidelines to allow foreign students in mainland China to bring their certificates, university degrees and certificates from other countries to return home to China, according to government records seen by the Washington Post.
According to their U.K. college, the Pakistani students are planning a return in March and are “quite confident that their cure will be successful.”
Ramsey Clark, the group’s chairman, said that the students will make a quick recovery and are just “a few weeks away from returning home, and they’re happy to be home.”
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