While respiratory infections are common on college campuses, especially as the winter sets in and finals begin, a recent outbreak of Adenovirus on the University of Maryland campus has caused some concern.  So far, there have been 22 confirmed cases of Adenovirus, resulting in serious respiratory symptoms and in one unfortunate case, the death of a freshman student who passed away due to complications of the infection.  This outbreak has prompted a lot of concern on campus, and the university has responded with numerous statements from the campus health center warning of the signs and symptoms and making suggestions to anyone suffering from cold or flu like symptoms to be tested for Adenovirus.

What, exactly, is Adenovirus?  Adenoviruses are a group of relatively common viruses that mainly affect the respiratory system in the human host; however there are strains of the virus that can cause more serious illnesses, including Adenovirus serotype 7, which is the culprit in the serious outbreak at UMD.

The common symptoms of Adenovirus include fever, coughs, sore throat, diarrhea, and pink eye. Adenovirus is highly contagious and can be spread through both fomite (objects that carry infection) and aerosol (infectious particles in the air) transmission. Although Adenovirus infection is common and typically only presents mild symptoms, there is an exception in the case of people with weakened immune systems, such as those with chronic illnesses or people who have existing cardiac and respiratory diseases, who can develop serious and even life-threatening symptoms. The symptoms can be severe, such as pneumonia and inflammation of the brain, and can even be deadly in certain cases.

The best way for students at University of Maryland to protect themselves from contracting Adenovirus is constant hand sanitation, avoidance of touching surfaces that are touched by a lot of people in a day, and the avoidance of touching hands to the face before properly sanitizing them. It is best for students to be cautious no matter if they are in their dorms or classes. Carrying around hand sanitizer, coughing into their arms, and most importantly, staying home when feeling sick are the best ways to prevent the spread of this infection. Additionally, students with existing medical conditions are strongly urged to go to the health center or urgent care within 48 hour of developing symptoms to get proper medical treatment before the symptoms develop into something more serious.

91 Baseline Visits! How many more will give samples and get $60!?

As of 4:30 pm Monday December 10, we have collected baseline samples from 91 people and 254 have completed the baseline survey. If you did the survey already but haven’t given samples, you can still come give samples before you leave for winter break and receive up to $60.

Thank you to everyone who has participated. CATCH the virus Study — and we hope you stay well.

More news… we have received human subjects research approvals for a new part of the study. You will soon be able to enroll and receive a free Health Tag by Spire to “make your clothes smart” and monitor your health.

Off to a Great Start!

The study is up and running! This is our second week open and there has already been a huge turnout in clinic! See some of the awesome data below about how many participants we have already seen!

Baseline Surveys 202
Baseline Sample Visits 47
Case Brief Visits 2

Don’t forget, if you have already filled out the baseline survey you are eligible for the baseline sample visit! Come to clinic and have one of our trained RAs collect samples from you to continue participating in the study!

27-Nov 28-Nov 29-Nov 30-Nov 1-Dec 2-Dec 3-Dec 4-Dec
Baseline Surveys 49 57 15 12 4 11 41 11
Baseline Sample Visits 7 5 7 11 5 5 5 2
Case Brief Visits 1 1

If you have not signed up it is not too late! Contact the clinic to get started on the baseline survey and make an appointment to come to clinic for your baseline sample visit! We look forward to meeting with you!

200 People have done baseline surveys!

We are underway. Thank you to the first 200 people who have completed baseline surveys and to 47 who came to the clinic and gave baseline samples! You can fill out the survey anytime — if you didn’t get the email invitation give us a call at 4242-GOTFLU and we’ll send you one. Then schedule a time to come to the clinic and give biological samples and get paid.

The flu season is starting! Stay well but “CATCH the virus study!”

There’s just a little bit of flu around now. So, it’s not too late to get vaccinated. The chart below shows that there is just a tiny uptick recently. But, it is too early to know how big the season will be. We here at the CATCH study are ready to find out what happens on campus. Are you ready to join us, and get paid for your time? So far 120 people have completed the baseline survey and 19 have given baseline samples. Two people have been screened as possible acute respiratory infection cases. What about you?

This chart shows stacked bars displaying the number of positive tests colored by the type of influenza virus detected.

CDC FluView: Influenza positive tests reported to CDC by US Public Health Laboratories October 1, 2017 – November 17, 2018

 

RAs of the Week!

In honor of the clinic now being open, here are some more of our clinic RAs!

Meet Delwin!

Delwin is a junior general biology major and is one of our returning clinic RAs! In high school, he used to wrestle. When he is not in clinic, he can be found with Maryland Masti, Health Guardians of America or Terps4Change! In the future Delwin hopes to become a physician. If you are lucky when you come to clinic, Delwin will be your RA!

 

Meet Katie!

Katie is a senior neurobiology and physiology major and is also one of our returning clinic RAs! In high school she played volleyball and was on the track team. When she is not in clinic she can be found with Phi Sigma Pi, with MedLife, with TerpSki or volunteering at a local retirement home! In the future Katie hopes to become an orthopedic surgeon. If you are lucky when you come to clinic, Katie will be your RA!

 

Don’t forget to contact the clinic to make an appointment for your baseline visit! Contact us at 4242-GOTFLU (424-246-8358) or catch@umd.edu

WE ARE BACK!!

Good news, we are back and ready to start seeing participants! Starting this week the clinic will be open to schedule baseline visits! We are looking forward to working with you, so come in and we will compensate you for your time.

RAs of the Week!

RAs of the Week

 

Meet  Jason!

Jason is one of our clinic RAs and has been part of the C.A.T.C.H. study for 2 years. Not only does he work in the clinic, in the past he worked on measuring the correlation between symptom score provided by the participant and the end result (positive or negative) of their samples taken in the clinic. Currently, he is working on the integration process of wearable health monitors into the study. Jason is a senior, microbiology major. In the future, he is hoping to go to medical school to work with disease response or health policy. If your lucky when you come to clinic you will have Jason as your RA!

 

Meet Amara!

Amara is one of our clinic RAs and has been part of the C.A.T.C.H. study for 2 years. She is a senior Public Health Science major. When Amara is not in clinic, she can be found working as the executive director of Terp Thon or with her sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon. She is even a certified EMT! In the future she hopes to go to PA school to fulfill her dream of becoming a Physician Assistant. If your lucky when you come to clinic you will have Amara as your RA!

RAs of the Week!

Meet more of our awesome undergraduate research assistants!

 

Meet Afnan!

Afnan is one of our clinic RAs and joined the C.A.T.C.H. study this past  summer. Not only does she do an awesome job in the clinic, she also is helping on a cloning project in the lab! Afnan is a senior, public health science major. On campus, she is also member of Tau Sigma, a Honor Society. Believe it or not, Afnan can be found going for runs at 6am! In the future, she is hoping to go to medical school and become a doctor. If your lucky when you come to clinic you will have Afnan as your RA!

 

Meet Ankita!

Ankita is one of our clinic RAs and joined the C.A.T.C.H. study last spring. Ankita is a junior, general biology major. When Ankita is not in clinic she can be found working with scholars alumni, in the QUEST honors program, or working as a swim instructor. She loves her job as a swim instructor! In the future Ankita is hoping to go to medical school and serve in a nonprofit organization. If your lucky when you come to clinic you will have Ankita as your RA!

Cool Paper

Technology is always changing. To help us identify different viruses that are collected on swabs in the clinic we use PCR assay. This process takes 3-4 hours to run and collect information. A recent study has found an alternative method called loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP). During a comparative study it was found that this technique is just as sensitive and specific to identifying and quantifying viruses. The main difference is that this method only takes 1 hour from swab collection to results! 

Check out this cool paper!

https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlepdf/2018/lc/c8lc00841h

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