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Group of 22 U.S. students quarantined in China

  • Story Highlights
  • One student was found to have a fever when group arrived in China on July 14
  • The rest of the students were taken to a hotel, where they were isolated
  • School: More students came down with fevers and also were hospitalized
  • Hospitalized students will be released into quarantine, Chinese officials told school
By Alison Harding
CNN
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A group of 22 students from the greater District of Columbia and Maryland area have been quarantined in China after several tested positive for the H1N1 flu virus, school officials said Tuesday.

The students are participating in an annual culture and language learning trip to China through the University of Maryland's Confucius Institute.

When the group arrived in China on July 14, one of the students was found to have a fever before getting off the plane, and was immediately taken to a hospital, according to Alan Cheung, executive director of the Confucius Institute.

The rest of the students were taken to a hotel, where they were isolated. The next day, several more students came down with fevers and also were hospitalized, Cheung said.

Since May, China has been checking people arriving from countries where cases of H1N1 -- also known as swine flu -- have been reported. Anyone with a fever or exhibiting flu-like symptoms has been placed in quarantine, usually in a hospital, while anyone whose seat on a plane was close to a person with such symptoms has been sequestered in hotel rooms, the U.S. State Department has said.

A group of British children and teachers quarantined for nearly a week were allowed to leave their hotel Tuesday, Britain's Foreign Office said. The students and teachers came from various schools in Britain and were all traveling to China together as members of the same British school association, the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust.

Cheung said he did not know how many of the students from Maryland have tested positive for the virus, but he said he was informed by Chinese officials Monday that all of the hospitalized students would be released shortly and put in a quarantined hotel.

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Christopher Garran, principal of Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Maryland, which has three students on the trip, said at least one of his school's students has been allowed to go out and sightsee.

The students' host, Hanban, a non-profit organization affiliated with the Ministry of Education of China, provided all of the students with laptops so they could contact their parents, Cheung said. Hanban also gave the students the option of extending their trip at no cost.

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