MASSAPEQUA, N.Y. (WPIX)—Catholics who received communion at the Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Christmas Day may have been exposed to hepatitis A, according to the Nassau County Health Department.
Health officials said individuals who received communion during the 10:30 a.m. or noon masses at the Massapequa Park church on Dec. 25 may be at risk.
The department plan to offer immune globulin or hepatitis A vaccines in the church auditorium this week. The hepatitis A virus can be spread by sharing food or drinks that has been handled by an infected individual, but casual contact such as sitting together in a church, office or school setting, does not spread the virus, health officials said.
"It's the risk of participating in the communion process - if it's somebody that went to the church and didn't participate or was just being in the church or the neighborhood, certainly it's not a risk factor," assured Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein of the Nassau County Department of Health.
Some symptoms may include an abrupt fever, stomach pain, nausea, jaundice, fatigue or poor appetite, said the health department. Symptoms usually appear within 28 days of exposure and most recover within a few weeks. But those at risk should get vaccinated within two weeks of any potential exposure.
For additional information on the potential hepatitis A exposure and vaccines at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, please call the Nassau County Department of Health at 516.227.9496 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4:45 p.m.