COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) — Officials at the University of Maryland College Park are trying to calm fears that mold issues are linked to a viral outbreak.
The University has now seen six confirmed cases of adenovirus with one death.
The school has said that student well-being is a top priority, they acknowledge that mold can make people more susceptible to viral infections, but they said there is no consistent connection to the outbreak of adenovirus.
UMD freshman Olivia Paregol died of complications from adenovirus, her family has questioned whether mold made her condition worse.
“It didn’t help the illness. I think that’s a really fair statement. We don’t know that there’s causation, yet, but it didn’t help things,” said Ian Paregol, Olivia’s father.
The mold problem was so severe students had to be moved out of their dorm several times for cleaning.
“You can’t sleep at night because the pillow is right next to mold, and you’re up all night coughing,” said Jessica Thompson, UMD student.
Thompson is a freshman at the school, she had mold in her shoes and other clothing. She believes it made her sick.
“We got to go home and we would be totally fine at home and we would come back and we would be sniffling and coughing, and then have headaches,” Thompson said. “They had put in a dehumidifier and the heat had finally turned on and the mold seemed to go away, but it was a good two and a half months,”
The school says there’s no direct link between the mold problems and the adenovirus that killed Paregol, noting of the six confirmed cases, some like hers were students who lived in dorms with mold and others lived off campus where there was no mold.
Paregol also had Crohn’s Disease which weakened her immune system and made her more susceptible to the virus, one case at the university tested positive for a severe strain known as Adenovirus 7.
“What we’ve done is we’ve stepped up our cleaning efforts, we’re on high alert here at the health center for students who come in with symptoms that are consistent with possible Adenovirus infection, and we’re working to be very diligent and following up on cases with students who are sick to make sure that they don’t worsen,”