The father of a late college freshman thinks the University of Maryland should’ve done more to save his daughter.
Oliva Paregol, 18, had been suffering from Crohn’s disease and a weakened immune system when she contracted an adenovirus just a few weeks into the fall semester. The virus isn’t usually deadly, though it can prove fatal for those with compromised immune health.
The freshman continued to get sicker as the school year progressed and passed away at Johns Hopkins Hospital on Sunday.
Earlier in the semester, the college student had developed a cough and complained of respiratory issues, her father, Ian Paregol, said. He believes mold on the campus was at least a contributing factor in Olivia’s failing health.
“It didn’t help the illness. I think that’s a really fair statement. We don’t know that there’s causation, yet, but it didn’t help things,” Paregol told CBS News.
“I want the other kids to make sure they don’t get sick. I mean … apparently there were two kids sick when we came forward, right? That was the 13th. I would’ve liked to have had that information. And now there’s three more kids sick.”
Five other students at the school were also diagnosed with the same respiratory virus, according to the university. The first case was confirmed on Nov. 1.
The University Health Center in a statement disputed the father’s claims, saying there’s “no consistent connection between mold exposure and the incidents of adenovirus infection affecting UMD students.”
However, Paregol’s father isn’t the only one to think the mold is the reasoning behind the sickness of students.
“You can’t sleep at night because the pillow is right next to mold and you’re up all night coughing,” University of Maryland freshman Jessica Thompson told CBS News.
“We got to go home on the weekends and we would be totally fine at home, and we would come back and would be sniffling and coughing and then have headaches.”