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Fault detection and isolation is a key component of any safety-critical system. Although diagnosis methods based on discrete event systems have been recognized as a promising framework, they cannot be easily applied to systems with complex continuous dynamics. This paper presents a novel approach for discrete event system diagnosis of continuous systems based on a qualitative abstraction of the measurement deviations from the nominal behavior. We systematically derive a diagnosis model, provide diagnosability analysis, and design a diagnoser. Our results show that the proposed approach is easily applicable and can be used for online diagnosis of abrupt faults in continuous systems.