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US Bishops issue health precaution advice during flu outbreak

 Washington: The US bishops' Committee on Divine Worship has posted on the Web a series of ten questions and answers related to participation at Mass during the time of the swine influenza (swine flu).

The information echoes that published in 2006 at the time of the avian (bird) flu and was developed in conjunction with the US Centre for Disease Control.

The  questions and answers can be found at:  usccb.org/liturgy/swineflu.shtml

Previously, the Q&A noted: 'in those localities where the outbreak of the disease has been the most significant, bishops have introduced several liturgical adaptations in regard to such practices as the distribution of Holy Communion and the Exchange of the Sign of Peace in order to limit the spread of contagion.'

The Q&A also re-emphasized 'the need to practice good hygiene' now.

'Ministers of Holy Communion should be encouraged to wash their hands before Mass begins, or even to use an alcohol based anti-bacterial solution before and after distributing Holy Communion.'

The Q&A added that priest, deacons and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion ministers 'should instruct people who feel ill not to receive from the cup.'

The Q&A also noted that 'the need for the introduction of widespread liturgical adaptations for the prevention of the transmission of influenza in the diocese of the United States of America is not evident at this time.'

Source: USCCB