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Tasmanian meningococcal outbreak affects Eucharist distribution


Tasmanian churches are being forced to change their Eucharist distribution practices following the recent outbreak of meningococcal disease.

The Catholic Church has temporarily suspended the distribution of Communion wine.

The Catholic and Anglican Churches were notified by the Director of Public Health yesterday of risks associated with the sharing a common communion cup.

Three people have died from the infection in Tasmania in the past two weeks.

Archbishop Adrian Doyle said that with the bacteria carried in saliva, drinking from a common cup increases the risk of infection.

"I've now directed that this practice be suspended, on a temporary basis until the crisis time passes, which we hope will be very soon," he said. "The Anglican Church is offering parishioners a second communion cup, so wafers can be dipped into the wine."

The Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, the Right Reverend John Harrower, said the changed communion procedures could become permanent.

SOURCE
ABC


4-Oct-01