The Fargo Catholic Diocese’s new bishop, John Folda, may have exposed hundreds of church members here and in Jamestown to the hepatitis A virus in late September and early October.  The diocese said he contracted the infection through contaminated food while attending a conference for newly ordained bishops in Italy last month.

The North Dakota Department of Health issued an advisory of exposure on Thursday for anyone who attended church and had communion at the following churches:

  • Holy Spirit Church, Fargo, on Sept. 27.
  • Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo, on Oct. 6.
  • St. Paul’s Catholic Newman Center, Fargo, on Oct. 7.
  • St. James Basilica, Jamestown, from Sept. 29 until Oct. 2.

The hepatitis A virus causes liver infection and is easily spread if people do not wash their hands thoroughly after using the restroom or changing a diaper or soiled sheets, then touch their mouths, prepare food or touch others with contaminated hands. Exposed individuals are encouraged to consult their health care provider only if they develop symptoms of hepatitis A.  Symptoms include fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, pale stools and jaundice.