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Hepatitis A warning issued after Christmas communion on Long Island

By Nina Golgowski, CNN
Individuals who received communion at two Christmas Masses at Our Lady of Lourdes Church may be at risk.
Individuals who received communion at two Christmas Masses at Our Lady of Lourdes Church may be at risk.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hundreds of people might have been exposed to hepatitis A on Christmas Day
  • Vaccines offered to attendees at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Massapequa Park
  • One member of clergy involved with communion process is infected
  • Symptoms of hepatitis A include fever, fatigue, poor appetite, nausea, stomach pain
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New York (CNN) -- Hundreds of people might have been exposed to hepatitis A while receiving communion on Christmas Day, Long Island officials said Monday.

The Nassau County Department of Health is offering vaccines to those who attended two services at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Massapequa Park in Long Island, New York, according to Nassau County Department of Health spokeswoman Mary Ellen Laurain.

Individuals might be at risk if they received communion during the 10:30 am and noon Masses, according to a statement from the county health department.

"We know that there's a potential that (exposure) could have happened," she said. "We think the risk is relatively low."

At least one member of the clergy involved in the communion process was infected with the disease, Laurain said.

There have been no additional reports of illness.

Some 1,300 people were in attendance between the two church services, she added.

Symptoms of the disease include the onset of fever, fatigue, poor appetite, nausea, stomach pain, dark-colored urine and jaundice, according the statement. The disease is rarely fatal and most people recover within a few weeks without complications, it said.

Individuals exposed to the disease should receive vaccination within two weeks of exposure, the statement said.

 
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