WDAY: The News Leader

Published October 24, 2013, 05:49 PM

Some Catholic churches in Fargo concerned with potential exposure to Hepatitis A

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The North Dakota Department of Health is warning people, of possible exposure to Hepatitis "A."

By: Drew Trafton, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The North Dakota Department of Health is warning people, of possible exposure to hepatitis "A."

As we first told you earlier this week, The Catholic bishop of the Fargo Diocese, John Folda, contracted the virus from contaminated food in Rome and may have exposed others in Fargo and Jamestown.

Inside is the Cathedral of St. Mary, where the bishop presided over a mass on October 6th.

The department of health says only those that received communion at that mass should be aware.

The same is true for two more churches in Fargo and one church in Jamestown.

The mass at Holy Spirit Church in Fargo was one where students of the school were in attendance.

And the mass in Jamestown was held during a convention for diocesan priests.

But the department of health said letters informing the churches are on their way.

Molly Howell/ ND Department of Health: "We have been working with the Catholic diocese and we did send letters to each of the churches."

The Diocese of Fargo has not issued a statement since the bishop announced his infection on Monday, but it did say it also has informed its churches of the possible exposure.

Additionally, each parish will be making announcements from the pulpit.

The department of health says the overall risk of infection is low. But people who received communion should be on the lookout for common symptoms.

Howell: "Some of the most notable ones are jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes, and then pale stools and dark urine. But there are also maybe more non-specific symptoms such as abdominal discomfort, nausea, loss of appetite, tiredness and fever."

After daily mass at St. Mary's Thursday, one parishioner said she was in the congregation of one of the masses in question, but her thoughts and prayers remained with the bishop.

Terry Pennebaker/St. Mary’s Parishioner: "We pray for him, and I'm not too worried about getting hepatitis."

Unfortunately, the overall health scare may continue for some time as the incubation period for hepatitis A ranges from 15 to 51 days.

The state department of health did tell me that if you have received two doses of hepatitis A vaccination separated by at least 6 months, you are immune to the virus.