COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) — The adenovirus confirmed cases count at the University of Maryland goes up Friday night as UMD confirms 22 cases.
Director of UMD Health Center, Dr. David McBride released a statement Friday night in a letter to the campus, urging the community to stay vigilant with the incidents of adenovirus on campus and to take preventative measures to stay healthy.
They said they have tested the students with a nasal PCR test and confirmed the 22 cases.
They said the number of students who had been sick earlier in November but have recovered are included in the count.
Their statement explained the situation, in part:
“Although Adenoviruses are common causes of colds found in significant numbers of people this time of year and are not dangerous to the general population, the results of five specimens have returned from the CDC and four are Adenovirus 7. One test was inconclusive and additional testing is being performed. This strain may cause more severe illness, particularly for those with chronic medical problems like asthma, diabetes or illnesses that lower their immune system or those who take medicine that lowers their immune system.
For these individuals, it is vitally important not to ignore flu-like symptoms (high fever and cough/sore throat and vomiting/diarrhea) and to visit a physician within 48 hours of developing symptoms,”
They ended their statement saying departments across campus will continue their increased cleaning of high-touch surfaces in response to the situation.
Students said the rise in cases is concerning.
“It’s always frightening to hear the number go up and up every day,” said Erfan Jabari, UMD freshman.
Olivia Paregol, a UMD freshman, died from an adenovirus-related illness on November 18, more than two weeks after the University learned about the first case of adenovirus.
Her father spoke with WJZ by phone days after his daughters death.
“Just the sweetest girl that you would ever possibly meet,” said Ian Paregol.
Paregol said the University never tested his daughter for the virus, but should have immediately after first getting sick.
Olivia had Crohn’s Disease and took medication that weakened her immune system.
Her father claims the University was aware of it because she would get her medication on campus.
He also said other important information about the virus was kept from them.
“We didn’t know that there were other cases,” He said.
Paregol also said he believes severe mold found in residence halls may have been a factor in her illness.
“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,” Paregol said.
The CDC hasn’t indicated there’s any link between mold and adenovirus, and the University has maintained that it appears there’s no link between the mold exposure on campus and the virus.
“We’re on high alert here at the Health Center for students who come with symptoms that are consistent with Adenovirus infections,” said Dr. David McBride, University Health Center.
Friday’s notice also indicated testing of four out of the five samples came back
For more information, visit UMD’s Health Center website.