New Jersey

Adenovirus Cases Up to 35 at University of Maryland

The Adenovirus 7 strain, associated with acute respiratory disease, was found by the CDC

What to Know

  • University of Maryland freshman Olivia Paregol died November 18 of adenovirus complications.
  • Health officials say they are dealing with an outbreak of the virus, which has symptoms that can be confused with those of a cold.
  • There are now 35 students who have tested positive for the virus, the university says.

The University of Maryland says there are now 35 students sickened in an outbreak of the adenovirus, which killed one freshman at the school.

All 35 students have tested positive for adenovirus either at the campus' health center or by an outside physician, according to a statement posted to the University of Maryland's website Wednesday. The university said it isn't aware of any students who are currently hospitalized.

Ten of the 11 specimens the university sent to the CDC were confirmed as adenovirus 7, the deadly strain that student Olivia Paregol contracted.

Paregol died of adenovirus complications on Nov. 18.

"The CDC has requested specimens only be sent on individuals with pneumonia, severe disease or who are hospitalized," read part of the statement.

Medical experts say the symptoms of the virus are similar to those of a cold, including a sore throat, fever or pink eye.

Wednesday's statement advises students to take precautions while traveling home for winter break.

The school said earlier in the month that officials used a nasal test, the most reliable test available, to tally the number of cases. Several students got sick in early November and have since recovered, the university says.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state and the county all are addressing the virus, said Prince George's County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Ernest Carter.

"We're working with the University of Maryland, the CDC and the state to make sure that we identify the strains, understand how it is spreading and make sure we are getting the word out," he said.

Adenoviruses are common viruses that can cause a range of illnesses, according to the CDC. The virus can pose serious complications to people with weakened immune systems, respiratory issues or cardiac disease.

According to university officials, the CDC tested five specimens and four were confirmed as Adenovirus 7, which is associated with acute respiratory disease. Another sample came back inconclusive and will be tested again, the school says.

Adenovirus is typically spread from an infected person to others through close personal contact such touching or shaking hands; through the air by coughing and sneezing; or by touching an object or surface with adenoviruses on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.

UMD is advising students and staff members to be conscientious about hygiene.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us