A student at the University of Maryland died recently of an adenovirus-associated illness, the university said Tuesday. At least 11 children have died recently in New Jersey after an adenovirus outbreak at a health center there.
In a statement, U-Md. said it learned Nov. 1 of what it said was then an “isolated case” of adenovirus. However, the statement, issued by David McBride, head of the campus health center, said that since then five more cases have been reported of students with confirmed adenovirus-associated illness.
The student who died was identified by her father, Ian Paregol, as Olivia Paregol, 18, a freshman from Howard County, Md. She lived in a campus dormitory, her father said in an interview.
She was “free-spirited and friendly,” he said. “Everybody she came across loved her.”
She died Sunday in an intensive care unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, he said.
Adenoviruses are common causes of colds, but certain strains can cause more serious illness. On Monday, the statement said, U-Md. learned that a specimen sent to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed adenovirus 7. That strain can cause more serious problems and was implicated in the New Jersey outbreak.
Generally, U-Md. said, treatment for adenovirus illnesses includes rest, fluids and medicine to reduce fever. Unfortunately, the university said, no medication exists for adenovirus infection outside hospitals.
It said vigilance was extremely important for those with chronic medical problems such as asthma, diabetes or illnesses that lower the immune system or for those taking medicine that weakens the immune system.
Symptoms listed by the CDC included colds, sore throats and fever. U-Md. said they should not be ignored, and a doctor should be seen within 48 hours.
In addition to issuing the notice and encouraging prevention, U-Md. said departments across campus began stepped-up cleaning of “high-touch” surfaces this month.
Since learning of the Nov. 1 case, the U-Md. statement said, campus health officials 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 at facilities where ill students have been admitted.
The statement said the campus health center staff has been on high alert and the center has “reached out to medical facilities in the area to heighten awareness of this illness.”
In the New Jersey outbreak, health officials there said the deaths were among 35 adenovirus 7 cases at a nursing and rehabilitation center in Haskell.
On its website, the CDC recommended preventive measures that include frequent washing; avoidance of touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands; and avoiding close contact with people who are ill.
Olivia Paregol had lived in a dormitory, Elkton Hall, where mold was discovered this year. The university has said that it appeared that no consistent connection existed between mold exposure and the incidents of adenovirus.