WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Students at the University of Maryland are increasingly worried about the mold problems in their dorms, that is believed to be connected to the death of a student.
- The university had so far reported five cases of adenovirus-infected students.
- Instead of stirring panic, the university just upped preventive measures including cleaning and following up on cases.
The recent death of a freshman at the University of Maryland suspected of succumbing to a rare virus linked to the mold problems in the university’s dormitories is the target of escalating concerns among UMD students. So far, five other students have been reported by the university having adenovirus-related illnesses.
Only in her first semester in university, 18-year-old Olivia Paregol passed away on November 18 at John Hopkins Hospital. Believed to be infected with adenovirus, her symptoms started with a cough later developing into pneumonia.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say symptoms of an adenovirus infection include respiratory problems manifested by coughs, wheezing, sore throat and a stuffy nose.
CBS News reports Jessica Thompson and her roommate believe that the fungus in their dorms made them sick. She said that they had difficulty sleeping at night because the mold is right next to their pillow, which sent them coughing all night.
“We go home on the weekends and we would be totally fine, then we come back and would be sniffling and coughing and having headaches,” added Thompson.
After repeated complaints to university officials, the roommates, together with 500 other students were evacuated to a temporary housing while the school cleaned the dorms and restrooms.
Olivia’s father, Ian Paregol, also maintained that there were molds in his daughter’s room at Elkton Hall which was among the dorms evacuated for cleaning. He contended that his daughter who had Crohn’s disease and a lowered immune system was affected by the mold outbreak to a more severe degree.
Describing his daughter as ‘the sweetest kid” the grieving father told Baltimore Sun that Olivia was a “typical freshman enjoying the freedom that college presented while maintaining her grades.” Regarding the impact the mold in the dorms had on the death of his daughter, he said, “This should never have happened.”
He also told CBS News that he thinks it is fair to say that the molds didn’t help the illness. “We don’t know that there’s causation, yet, but it didn’t help things,” he added.
While the university acknowledges adenovirus has sickened some of its students, we don’t “want to stir up unnecessary angst,” says Dr. David McBride, University of Maryland health center head.
“What we’ve done is we’ve stepped up our cleaning efforts, and we’re working to be very diligent to follow up on cases when students are sick to make sure that they don’t worsen,” said McBride.
State and local health officials are currently investigating the outbreak, which incidentally, is the same virus that killed 11 children in Wanaque, New Jersey earlier this fall.
Source: Fox News