Parishioners Warned Amid Communion Hepatitis Scare

Hundreds of people may have been exposed to hepatitis A while receiving communion on Christmas Day at a church, health officials said.

The Nassau County Health Department said Monday it will offer vaccines this week to anyone who received communion at the Long Island, N.Y., church on Dec. 25.

NBC New York identified the church as Our Lady of Lourdes in Massapequa Park.

A church spokesman told Newsday that the investigation was ongoing and that he could not identify who might have transmitted the virus.

About 7,500 parishioners attend Our Lady of Lourdes, Newsday reported.

Mary Ellen Laurain, a spokeswoman for the Nassau County Department of Health, told NBC New York that "a person involved in the communion process has tested positive for hepatitis A."

"The risk is low but we want to make sure that anybody who received communion on that day and those times could have been exposed," she added.

Symptoms may include fever, fatigue, poor appetite, nausea, stomach pain, dark-colored urine and jaundice. The disease is rarely fatal and most people recover in a few weeks without any complications.


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