A North Dakota bishop may have exposed recipients of Communion—potentially hundreds of people— to a strain of Hepatitis, according to Reuters on Oct. 25. John Folda got hepatitis A while traveling in Italy last month. The method of transmission for this particular strain of hepatitis is through food and it is believed that the bishop contracted the virus through contaminated foods. The bishop was in Italy at a conference for newly ordained bishops.
After returning from the trip last month, Folda has served Communion at four different churches—three in Fargo and one in Jamestown. Spokeswoman for the Catholic Diocese of Fargo Aliceyn Magelky issued a statement, saying, "He feels terrible about it. He did not know when coming back that he had contracted the virus or he would have refrained from participating in Mass much sooner."
According to the Associated Press, the Health Department has issued an advisory for anyone who may have been exposed. Molly Howell, State Immunization Program Manager, thinks the risk is low in this situation, but believes it is important to alert residents about any possible exposure.
Folda hasn't been contagious since Oct. 16 but has yet to return to a full work schedule. Hepatitis A is found in the feces of the infected and usually results when people with the virus fail to wash their hands and then interact with others or food.