Dear Members of the Morgan State University Community,
I am writing today to notify and provide you with an update on the Adenoviruses outbreak in our region. While there are no known cases of the Adenovirus identified on our campus, to our knowledge, through our University Health Center, we are aware that University of Maryland, College Park has reported several cases where students tested positive, one case leading to death in an immunocompromised student. All the other cases identified did not lead to hospitalizations.
As a matter of information, please be advised that Adenoviruses are common causes of colds and are normally found in significant numbers of people at this time of year. There are strains that can cause more serious illness, but not every individual with an Adenoviruses infection will follow a complicated course. Those with chronic medical problems like asthma, diabetes or illnesses that lower their immune system, or those who take medicine that lowers their immune system, are more susceptible to a complicated Adenovirus course. Therefore, for these individuals, it is vitally important not to ignore flu-like symptoms (high fever and cough/sore throat and vomiting/diarrhea) and to visit a physician within 48 hours of developing symptoms.
As the majority of Adenoviruses strains are not dangerous to the general population and because there is unfortunately no specific treatment, when a member of our community visits the Health Center with related symptoms, Adenovirus testing will not routinely be performed. Rather, testing will be reserved for situations in which the test results may make a difference to the care of the individual. Such situations would include those who may need hospitalization, those who have clinical or x-ray proven pneumonia, and those with underlying illness who may have a more complicated course with Adenovirus (severe asthma, diabetes, immunosuppression). This approach has been developed in consultation with the Maryland Department of Health and Baltimore City and County Health Departments following CDC established guidelines.
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for Adenoviruses for individuals who are not hospitalized and there is no vaccine that is available to civilians. Therefore, the most important actions that our community can take are those that prevent Adenovirus infection. We urge our community to continue to follow the precautions on our website and that will be circulated regarding effective prevention techniques during flu and virus season.
We continue to work closely with the state and city health departments to monitor new cases and coordinate on testing. Departments across campus, including the Health Center, Residential Facilities, Facilities Management, Department of Transportation Services and Athletics will remain vigilant in increasing cleaning of high-touch surfaces and restrooms. Faculty will be asked to be flexible in allowing students to make decisions that are best for their health without necessarily providing documentation of their illness from a medical practitioner.
Some media reports have raised whether there is a connection between exposure to mold and Adenoviruses. While it is true that mold can cause irritation of the respiratory tract and make individuals more susceptible to viral infections in general. The cases of Adenovirus-associated illness on the University of Maryland campus have been seen both in students living on and off campus and among students in residence halls affected by mold and residence halls not affected. As such, it appears that there is no consistent connection between mold exposure and the incidents of Adenovirus infection affecting UMD students. In addition, as reported in the Washington Post, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said no link exists between mold and Adenoviruses
To find out more information, please Click Here for an Adenovirus information link, where you will find information on updates as well as a series of FAQs (Transmission, Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment). The Health Center website will continue to be a resource where we will post updated health information.,
Thank you for staying vigilant to help reduce the spread of flu and viruses on our campus.
Ruth N. Agwuna M.D.
Director, University Health Center