WASHINGTON — A University of Maryland freshman from Howard County, Maryland, has died from complications from Adenovirus, and her grieving family is left wondering whether her death could have been prevented and if mold in her College Park campus dormitory played a role in her fatal illness.
The university has alerted the campus community to the death of 18-year-old Olivia Paregol, of Glenwood, who died Sunday.
“I don’t know if the mold was a contributing factor or a primary factor or a nonfactor,” said Ian Paregol, Olivia’s father.
The university said that “it appears there is no consistent connection between mold exposure and the incidents of Adenovirus.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said those with weakened immune systems are most vulnerable to the common virus that can cause cold-like symptoms, including sore throat, bronchitis and pneumonia.
Ian Paregol said Olivia was taking an immuno-suppressor drug to combat Crohn’s disease, which she had been fighting the past year and a half. Paregol said doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital learned too late last week that Adenovirus was the underlying cause of his daughter’s pneumonia, which would claim her life.
“It seems to me more should have been done and more information should have been provided,” Paregol said.
The university said it learned of one case of Adenovirus on Nov. 1. Since then, five other students are confirmed to have the virus, according to a university statement.
Paregol said his daughter began coughing in September and was among the first students to report mold in her dorm at Elkton Hall. All students were forced to relocate to hotels while the eight-story building was cleaned.
“What should have happened — mold or no mold — families should have been advised that if your child seems unusually sick for an extended period and if your child has any other compromising or impactful medical history, you should probably get checked for the Adenovirus,” Paregol said.