UPDATE: Congregation Members Face Possible Hepititis A Exposure - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Congregation Members Face Possible Hepititis A Exposure

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UPDATE: The North Dakota Department of Health added a Grand Forks church to the list of places where possible exposure to Hepatitis A occurred. The notification now includes anyone who attended and received communion at the 10:30 a.m. mass on September 29 at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Grand Forks.

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Congregation members from Catholic churches in the southeastern portion of the state may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus. A case investigation completed by the North Dakota Department of Health suggests the virus may have been spread through communion.

Immunization program manager Molly Howell says the risk of people getting hepatitis A in this situation is low, but the Department of Health felt it was important for people to know about the possible exposure.

"Only people who attended these specific churches and had communion on these dates were possibly exposed to hepatitis A and should be tested if symptomatic. People who were exposed, but do not have symptoms, are not recommended to be tested for hepatitis A," says Howell.

People who attended the following services may have been exposed to the virus:

  • September 27, 2013: Holy Spirit Church in Fargo, N.D. (school mass)
  • September 29 – October 2, 2013: St. James Basilica in Jamestown, N.D. (priest convention)
  • October 6, 2013: Cathedral of St. Mary in Fargo, N.D.
  • October 7, 2013: St. Paul's Catholic Newman Center in Fargo, N.D.

Hepatitis A virus is found in the feces of infected people and causes an infection in the liver. Exposed individuals are encouraged to consult their health-care provider if they develop symptoms. Symptoms include fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, pale stools, or jaundice .

A vaccine is currently available and routinely recommended for all children ages 12 to 23 months.

 

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