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Overanxious Patients Discharged from Hospital
The seven overseas patients being treated in a local hospital for flu-like symptoms don't have severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, said doctors at the hospital yesterday.

"They have all been diagnosed as suffering from common cold or pulmonary infection," said Liu Jinming, a doctor of the Respiratory Disease Department of the Shanghai Pulmonary Disease Hospital, which has been designated by the city for SARS diagnosis and observation for people from overseas. Four of the patients have already been released from the hospital and two more will be released this morning, the doctor said.

The seventh patient is still in hospital, he added, without further identifying the person.

All the seven overseas patients checked into the hospital last week, reporting symptoms such as having a fever or coughing, said Zhang Lei, another doctor from the hospital.

"It's an unusual experience," 36-year-old Anil Kumar Agarwal said yesterday morning. Agarwal, who hails from India, will be released from hospital today along with British citizen Robert Allsop.

"The medical staff here are very friendly and gave me timely and effective treatment," Agarwal said.

After returning from a trip to southern China, the Indian man was hospitalized last Tuesday for coughing and throat problems.

He was diagnosed with a common cold.

Meanwhile, Shanghai announced 20 experts in the fields of respiratory tract and epidemic diseases will join a local consulting group on SARS.

The group is charged with helping the government form stricter prevention and control measures for SARS, tracking the cause of the disease and looking for more effective medical treatments.

The group will also be engaged in diagnosing suspected patients.

The experts include Wen Yumei, director of the Open Laboratory of Medical Molecular Virology, and Weng Xinhua, an epidemiology expert from Huashan Hospital.

Shanghai has reported no new case of SARS after announcing more than a week ago that one local woman was infected after returning from a business trip to southern China.

(eastday.com April 15, 2003)

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