30 students sickened by adenovirus at University of Maryland; 8 hospitalized

- University of Maryland officials announced Friday that 30 students have contracted adenovirus, the same virus that led to the death of an 18-year-old freshman in mid-November.

University officials say eight of those students were hospitalized, yet none are currently in the hospital.

Adenovirus can often cause the common cold, according to the CDC, but some strains are more severe, especially when patients have compromised immune systems.

The university announced on Nov. 20 that freshman Olivia Paregol died after contracting adenovirus. The university's own timeline points to the first case being reported on Nov. 1.

Yet the first official communication specifically warning students and staff about the virus wasn't sent out until Nov. 19.

Ian Paregol, Olivia's father, says the university's slow dissemination about the adenovirus cases may have contributed to his daughter's inability to overcome the virus.

"The fact that she’s gone is unimaginable for our family," Paregol said.

He says doctors would have immediately put her on an anti-viral had they known other cases of adenovirus had been reported at the University of Maryland.

"There was no communication to her, to us or to anyone for that matter that number one, there was an adenovirus issue, whether small or large, something to look for, and they didn’t suggest she go follow up with a physician," said Paregol.

When asked why the university did not reveal the early cases of adenovirus a university spokeswoman said, “since learning of the first isolated case of Adenovirus on November 1, [UMD] has been working with the state and local health department to track cases and inform their community how seriously to take cold and flu season - especially for anyone with special health circumstances or a weakened immune system.”

The 30 cases and eight hospitalizations were revealed in a message about the deep cleaning of residence halls, which will take place during winter break.

When asked why the extra cleaning is not happening until at least Jan. 7, the university pointed to a statement on its Department of Resident Life's website which says, "The low-occupancy of the Winter Break period will allow us the ability to conduct this disinfection process within student rooms in an organized and efficient manner with limited disruption to our residents."

The university says it started more frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces on Nov. 7.

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