At least 30 cases of adenovirus had been confirmed at the University of Maryland, College Park as of Wednesday, according to the university.
The virus, which led to the death of a freshman in November, has hospitalized at least eight people, according to information from the University Health Center.
The university plans to deep-clean frequently touched surfaces in dorms during students’ winter break to combat the spread of the virus, including disinfecting doorknobs, desks, dressers, counters, light switches, faucets and bed frames.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is monitoring the adenovirus outbreak on the College Park campus. There are more than 50 strains of adenovirus, and the pathogen can cause symptoms ranging from mild common colds to serious complications such as intestinal infections or neurological problems.
Adenovirus 7 is among the strains that can lead to more serious illnesses. On Nov. 19, one specimen collected at the school by the CDC had been identified as adenovirus 7, the University Health Center reported. And by Nov. 29, four of five additional samples sent to the CDC tested positive for adenovirus 7, according to the health center.
A freshman at the University of Maryland, College Park, died Sunday of complications from adenovirus, and her family is questioning whether the university — which has seen several cases of the illness — could have done more to prevent her death.
As of Monday, the CDC had ceased testing every adenovirus sample for adenovirus 7. Instead, the CDC will test selected specimens based on clinical criteria, including samples from patients who have been hospitalized and those who have been diagnosed with pneumonia or contracted other severe diseases, according to the University Health Center.
University officials notified campus residents Thursday that residential facilities staff would disinfect surfaces inside students’ rooms during winter break beyond standard cleaning during an attempt to stem the spread of viruses. Contractors will conduct the cleaning Jan. 7-18 while escorted by university staff.
As the University of Maryland, College Park faces down back-to-back health crises, students and parents are complaining that the institution hasn’t been aggressive enough to stem the spread of mold and disease on campus.
The university is asking campus residents to clear their living areas before leaving for winter break to prepare for the deep-cleaning, including clearing off the tops of desks, dressers, countertops and tables; moving bedding away from headboards and footboards; removing personal items, towels and rugs from bathrooms; taking home valuables; and storing fragile items.
Students who wish to opt out of the cleaning must notify the university by Dec. 18.
Olivia Paregol, an 18-year-old from Howard County, died of complications from adenovirus Nov. 18 at Johns Hopkins Hospital, according to her father, Ian Paregol. She had been in and out of the hospital since first developing a cough and then pneumonia earlier in the semester.
On Tuesday, the University Health Center also sent messages to students who have reported higher risk conditions — including those with asthma, diabetes, immune deficiency or taking immune-weakening medications — to remind them of precautions they should take to avoid adenovirus, according to the health center.