Adenovirus cases at University of Maryland increase to 35, officials say

Officials say there are now 35 confirmed cases of students who have tested positive for Adenovirus at the University of Maryland.

Ten of the cases have confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be Adenovirus Type 7, according to the university.

The virus has led to the death of 18-year-old freshman student Olivia Paregol. She died in November from pneumonia after contracting the virus.

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

The University Health Center says they became aware of the first reported student Adenovirus case on Nov. 1.

However, 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 if the university had made it known about the Adenovirus cases sooner, his daughter may still be alive.

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.

The school will perform a deep cleaning of residence halls during winter break.

The University Health Center has provided some tips to help stop the spread of the illness:

It is important that we all consider how we can help stop the spread of illnesses and keep ourselves and others healthy.

-- If you need to travel and currently have a fever, I urge you to consider not using public transportation. Public transportation, including planes, buses and trains, are an easy source of illness transmission. In addition, if you are not currently sick and will be taking public transportation, remember to wash your hands and use hand sanitizer often to avoid catching a virus from someone else.

-- If you are sick, stay home and in bed. Avoid crowded places, such as large gatherings, to prevent spreading your illness to others. In particular, avoid friends or family who have underlying medical problems when you are or believe you may be sick. If you are attending any gatherings or parties, remember to avoid sharing food, utensils, cups and water bottles.

-- If you have not yet gotten a flu shot, I urge you to do so during your time off. Flu season lasts through March, so it is not too late.

-- Please take your symptoms seriously. If you have chronic medical problems like asthma, diabetes or illnesses that lower your immune system or take medicine that lowers your immune system, it is vitally important not to ignore flu-like symptoms (high fever and cough/sore throat and vomiting/diarrhea) and to visit a physician within 48 hours of developing symptoms.

As a reminder, we have a series of resources on the University Health Center website regarding Adenovirus, and will continue to post updates there. In addition, for students who currently live on-campus, please remember to follow the instructions provided by the Departments of Resident Life and Residential Facilities so they can successfully execute their expanded cleaning program this winter break to include disinfecting frequently-touched surfaces inside student rooms.