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November 21, 2018

A Maryland college student died from the same adenovirus causing death toll in New Jersey

This virus targets those with weakened immune systems

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A University of Maryland student has died from the same adenovirus that recently took the lives of 11 children in a Voorhees medical facilityCNN reports.  

Olivia Paregol, 18, had been ill since a cough that developed early in the semester led to pneumonia. After several visits to the emergency room, she died at Johns Hopkins Hospital, her father, Ian Paregol, told the Baltimore Sun.

“While we are normally prohibited from sharing medical information publicly, we have been authorized by a family member to share this news and urge others to take seriously this strain of a common virus,” the university’s health director, Dr. David McBride, wrote in a statement.

RELATED READ: Four cases of adenovirus confirmed at Voorhees Pediatric Facility

The university learned of the first case of adenovirus related illness on November 1, and since then has confirmed five other cases of the virus, McBride said. The more severe adenovirus type 7 was identified in one of those cases, he continued.

But the virus has more than 50 strains causing illnesses from common colds to pneumonia. Fever, diarrhea, intestinal infections and neurological diseases are other possible symptoms, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

McBride's statement assures that the university has responded by increasing the cleaning of "high-touch surfaces." Self-serve silverware is being replaced every 15 minutes in the dining halls, for example. He urged the campus community, especially people with chronic medical conditions, to take preventive measures to protect from the virus.

Paregol’s father has been outspoken about a campus health issue that could have exacerbated her infection: a mold outbreak in several dorm buildings this fall. The mixture of mold with Paregol’s battle with Crohn's disease could have made her more susceptible to infection, he told The Sun.

Olivia Paregol's death was announced just days after health authorities in New Jersey confirmed the 11th death of a child of adenovirus-related illness at a health care facility in Voorhees, Camden County. More than 30 people, including 23 children, were sickened by the virus in New Jersey since September, CNN reported.

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