Public Health

Churchgoers May Have Been Exposed to Hep. A Via Communion

Bishop in North Dakota unknowingly contracted it while in Italy

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People who attended mass at four North Dakota Catholic churches in the past month may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus through receiving communion, according to state health officials.

Communion is a ritual in which parishioners eat bread and wine tranformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

Fargo diocese spokesperson Aliceyn Magelky told CBSNews.com Friday that Bishop John Folda was in Italy for a period in Sept. with several newly-ordained bishops when he unknowingly contracted hepatitis A through contaminated food. Around Oct. 10, he started developing symptoms and stayed home, and a blood test revealed shortly after he had the infection.