After university freshman Olivia Paregol’s recent adenovirus death, some students at the University of Maryland are concerned over her death’s connection to a mold problem going on at the dorms.
Evidently, even Paregol’s dorm was affected by the mold problem that began last August.
It was early this month when 18-year-old student Paregol developed a cough, which eventually turned into pneumonia. She later died from adenovirus 7, which is a strain that can cause more severe illnesses compared to other common adenovirus strains that are not typically dangerous but can cause illnesses such as cough and pink eye.
Now, however, some students are worried over the connection of her death to an ongoing mold problem at the university dorms, which started last August. Some of the students say they discovered mold on their shoes and clothing, and that some of them even fell ill as a result.
Student Jessica Thompson even told CBS News that they would be fine when they went home during the weekends, but would fall ill again when they went back to the dorm, experiencing cough, sniffling, and headaches. She further states that they would have trouble sleeping because their pillows were nest to the mold and they would be up coughing all night.
Eventually, about 500 students were moved to a temporary housing and placed dehumidifiers after the students’ repeated alerts to university officials, but they say it took about two and a half months before this was done.
According to Paregol’s father, Ian Paregol, his daughter’s room was also affected by the mold, saying that while there is no causation yet, it did not help her illness either.
In response to the concerns, the university stated that while mold is known to cause respiratory tract irritation and can make people more vulnerable to infections, the adenovirus cases on campus were seen in students living both on and off campus, whether affected by the mold or not.
“As such, it appears that there is no consistent connection between mold exposure and the incidents of adenovirus infection affecting UMD students,” the university states.