Maryland

Family Lays Groundwork for Lawsuit Over UMD Student's Adenovirus Death

Olivia Paregol died after contracting adenovirus during an outbreak that sickened at least 35 at the University of Maryland

A Howard County family is one step closer to suing the University of Maryland over their daughter's death.

Olivia Paregol, an 18-year-old freshman, died in November after being sickened from adenovirus.

The family filed a notice of claim under the Maryland Tort Claims Act this week, laying the groundwork for a possible lawsuit against the school.

The Paregol family believes their daughter would still be alive if the University had informed students earlier about an adenovirus outbreak last year.

Her health problems started while she was living on campus in Elkton Hall.

"She wasn't given any information whatsoever about adenovirus or to follow up to see a doctor to see another professional," Olivia's father, Ian Paregol, said. "She was just sent back to her dorm saying, well, 'you should be better in a couple of days.'"

Ian Paregol says the school knew about the virus outbreak for 18 days before reporting it. He also questioned whether mold in the dorms may have contributed to her death.

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The University of Maryland defended its actions, saying it had notified the campus about the outbreak in a timely and appropriate manner.

President Wallace Loh also said in a letter, "The University coordinated closely with state and county health officials on adenovirus."

At least 35 students contracted the virus during an outbreak last year, NBC4 reported. Ten of the 11 specimens the university sent to the CDC were confirmed as adenovirus 7, the deadly strain that student Olivia Paregol contracted.

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.

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