The University of Maryland on Monday reported three additional cases of adenovirus, one week after a freshman at the school died from complications relating to the disease.
Olivia Paregol, an 18-year-old from Howard County, died 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.
None of the three new cases, which happened over Thanksgiving break, has required hospitalization, according to a letter signed by David McBride, director of the University’s health center.
The virus, which has more than 50 strains, can cause illnesses ranging from common colds to pneumonia. Fever, diarrhea, intestinal infections and neurological diseases are also possible, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Serious conditions stemming from adenovirus are rare, but they are more common in people with compromised immune systems, according to the CDC. Olivia Paregol was at risk because medication she was taking to combat Crohn’s disease weakened her immune system, her father said.
The CDC, the Maryland Department of Health and the Prince George’s County Health Department are investigating the outbreak on campus. Brian Bachus, chief of the state health department’s division of outbreak investigations, said the state health department first became aware of the campus outbreak Nov. 12, after the Prince George’s County Health Department reported it to his team.
It’s not unusual for a university to experience an adenovirus outbreak around this time of year, he said.
“It’s not always known when there’s an outbreak on campus because people are going to different physicians,” Bachus said. “It probably happens more frequently than we’re aware.”
Ian Paregol said he’s trying to understand whether her condition was exacerbated by a mold outbreak on the campus this fall. Olivia lived in Elkton Hall, one of the dorms that students were evacuated from so crews could treat the buildings for mold.
“Every kid in that dorm is sick,” Ian Paregol said.
In an FAQ about adenovirus on the University Health Center’s website, the center said there was not a clear link between mold found in dorms and adenovirus.