Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Crisis At OLL Deepens

Newsday has just reported that the Nassau County Dept. of Health has officially expanded the number of parishioners exposed to Hepatitis A at Our Lady of Lourdes to include people who received Holy Communion at the 1:30 pm Mass on Christmas Day and the five scheduled Masses the next day.

Apparently, the HAV carrier touched a number of consecrated hosts that were mixed in with a larger number of hosts and distributed at subsequent Masses.

In the prior post I discussed the various news quotes which identify the hepatitis-infected person as being male and a priest who was present at both the 10:30 and noon Christmas Day masses. The information from today's Newsday confirms that the carrier was probably a priest because the priest celebrating the mass is typically the one who empties the ciboria and combines all the remaining consecrated hosts after Communion, from my recollection of the post-Communion ritual.

Perhaps someone should be investigating these further possibilities which may expand the risk of contamination even more:
  • If the infected person is a priest and is perhaps the monsignor, it is his usual custom to shake hands, kiss and hug exiting parishioners on his lengthy receiving line after Mass. This kind of contact is obviously even more risky than receiving a possibly contaminated host.

  • Since it has been documented that HAV-infected persons are more contagious in the weeks before exhibiting symptoms, it is highly possible that the HAV carrier at OLL has been potentially contaminating parishioners for several weeks prior to Christmas.
Is anyone else besides me beginning to think that this contamination crisis has the potential to become even bigger and more involved???

Given the information Newsday provided today, consider this hypothetical possibility:

If the pastor is the Christmas Day HAV Carrier and was contagious for several weeks before Christmas, then he could have contaminated and re-contaminated the entire parish several times over.

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