Olivia Paregol (Family photo)
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - A University of Maryland student has died from a strain of Adenovirus, school officials say.
The University Health Center says it became aware of a student's Adenovirus case on Nov. 1. Since then, they have been closely monitoring for other reported cases and found five additional students with confirmed Adenovirus-associated illness.
Health officials say certain strains of Adenovirus can cause more serious illnesses.
On Nov. 19, University of Maryland health professionals say they learned that one sample from a student sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was found to be Adenovirus 7, a strain that can cause more severe illness.
Symptoms include high fevers, cough, congestion, sore throats, diarrhea, and vomiting.
The student who passed away has been identified by her family as 18-year-old Olivia Paregol. Her father told FOX 5's Evan Lambert that he has concerns about what the university knew when other students got sick and if that information could have helped treat his daughter before she died.
"We don't want any other kids to have this happen to them and God knows we don't want any other parents to have this unimaginable grief that we have," said Ian Paregol, Olivia's father.
Paregol's father says his daughter was a freshman at the university and was a smart, vibrant and beautiful person who loved animals. She became sick earlier this month, but her illness eventually led her to be flown to the intensive care unit.
"Her issue was she could not get enough oxygen through her lungs," the grieving father said.
He learned his daughter had pneumonia caused by Adenovirus. She died on Sunday.
Olivia's father says he thinks his daughter's case was worse because of problems with mold in the dorms on campus earlier this semester. However, the university says there is no consistent connection between the virus and mold.
The Health Center staff has been on high alert and have reached out to medical facilities in the area to heighten awareness of this illness. The center also says departments across campus began increased cleaning of high-touch surfaces early in November in response to this situation.
University Health Center Director David McBride says they have been working with the Maryland Department of Health and the Prince George's County Health Department to identify other cases and are advising testing to facilities where ill students have been admitted.
Students are being tested at the University Health Center and the campus community is being given guidance for preventative measures amid flu and virus season.
University of Maryland health officials say there is no specific medication to treat the infection for someone who hasn't been hospitalized. They recommend rest, plenty of fluids and fever-reducing medicine.
They recommend anyone with chronic medical problems such as asthma, diabetes or illnesses that lower your immune system or take medicine that lowers their immune system remain vigilant.
McBride said in a statement:
Dear campus community,
I am sad to share that a University of Maryland student recently passed away from Adenovirus associated illness. We offer our condolences during this difficult time.
While we are normally prohibited from sharing medical information publicly, we have been authorized by a family member to share this news and urge others to take seriously this strain of a common virus.
Adenoviruses are common causes of colds, but there are strains that can cause more serious illness. Over the past couple of weeks we have shared guidance on preventive measures our community should take during this flu and virus season and we urge our community to follow these guidelines.
We learned of an isolated case of a student with Adenovirus on November 1. Since then, we have been closely monitoring for cases in coordination with the Maryland Department of Health and Prince George's County Health Department, by testing students at the Health Center and advising testing to facilities where ill students have been admitted. The Health Center staff has been on high-alert and we have reached out to medical facilities in the area to heighten awareness of this illness.
Since then, there have been reports of five additional cases of students with confirmed Adenovirus associated illness. On November 19, we learned that the testing of one specimen sent to the CDC revealed Adenovirus 7, a strain that may cause more severe illness.
The treatment for these types of illnesses generally includes rest, plenty of fluids and fever-reducing medicine. Unfortunately, there is no specific medication to treat this infection in a non-hospitalized individual. However, vigilance is extremely important for those with chronic medical problems like asthma, diabetes or illnesses that lower your immune system or if you take medicine that lowers your immune system. It is vitally important not to ignore these symptoms and visit a physician within 48 hours of developing symptoms.
In addition to communications to our campus encouraging our community to take preventive measures on this and other viruses, departments across campus began increased cleaning of high-touch surfaces early in November in response to this situation.
More information can be found on the University Health Center website.