Health officials urge caution after University of Maryland student dies from Adenovirus
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Health officials in Prince George's County continue to investigate an outbreak of Adenovirus that has led to the death of a University of Maryland freshman student. Five other students have also tested positive for illnesses associated with the virus.
Eighteen-year-old student Olivia Paregol became sick earlier this month and died Sunday from pneumonia caused by Adenovirus.
Adenovirus is known as a cause for the common cold and for most people, it will leave the body in a few days. However, if it doesn't, it's important to go to a doctor. As college students are returning home, health experts are warning parents not to panic.
"It didn't all of a sudden come from anywhere," said Prince George's County Deputy Health Director Dr. Ernest Carter. "It's actually one of the most common viruses there is. You're carrying it on your skin, it's in the air, it's all over the place."
He says it is unclear right now why they are seeing an outbreak in Prince George's County.
"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.
Symptoms of Adenovirus are similar to the cold or flu -- runny nose, sore throat and headache or fever.
However, it's people with compromised immune systems who are most at risk for complications.
"You've been taking a medicine that causes your immune system to be down a little bit, or if you are just elderly. You get a big viral load, then the virus loves that and starts wreaking havoc, and if it overcomes your system, you tip over to a place where you can't recover and it can kill you," said Dr. Carter.
"These viruses don't have boundaries so viruses are everywhere. So regardless of whether they are on campus or not on campus, everyone needs to take the same precautions to protect themselves," he added.
Meanwhile, the Prince George's County Health Department continues to closely monitor the other five Maryland students who contracted Adenovirus. They all appear to be recovering, but county officials want everyone to remain vigilant.
"This is not a new virus that is coming out that is going to be detrimental to everybody," said Angela Crankfield-Edmond, program chief of Infectious Diseases for the Prince George's County Health Department.
"It's a common virus. People who are maybe compromised or if you are feeling a little not yourself, you want to make sure you protect yourself."
Some things she recommends include: "good handwashing, stay away from people who have cold systems and if you feel a little tingle, make sure you get to the doctor."
"From a public health perspective, the doctor needs to know and he needs to follow you. And you need to get better. And if you don't get better, we got to do something," said Dr. Carter.
Prince George's County says they are doing a deep cleaning of many highly-touched surfaces here at the university while students are away for Thanksgiving break.
If you feel sick, doctor's orders are to remove yourself from Thanksgiving festivities so you don't infect others, and get some rest.
Students at the University of Maryland have been notified and are being tested at the campus health center.