Ottery church's swine flu precaution

PUBLISHED: 09:19 28 June 2009 | UPDATED: 09:33 18 June 2010

SWINE FLU fears have stopped Ottery s Catholic church from offering wine to its congregation in a bid to prevent the virus from spreading.

SWINE FLU fears have stopped Ottery's Catholic church from offering wine to its congregation in a bid to prevent the virus from spreading.

The Church of St Anthony, Mill Street, has only been offering bread and not a holy chalice drink as part of the sacred custom since world health bosses declared a global flu pandemic earlier this month.

A spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Plymouth said letters were sent out to places of worship last weekend advising priests that the ritual should not be followed at the moment.

Ottery Deacon, The Reverend John Park, confirmed the church has adhered to the advice. He said: "It is something we that has come in and we are following it. Only the priest takes the chalice now. I see the need for it, it is better to be safe than sorry. Everything moves around so fast. It is also preffered if communion is taken on the hand and not in the mouth."

The diocese of Plymouth and its bishop, Christopher Budd, administers churches in Sidmouth and Devon.

A statement on the Catholic Church in England and Wales website, said: "As members of the church it is right that we take every reasonable care of each other's well being.

"At the present time, for example, we should take those precautions which help avoid spreading the virus."

Ten Exeter University students tested positive for the virus on Wednesday

The respiratory disease which emerged in Mexico and spread across the world is the first flu pandemic for 40 years.

Swine flu is most easily past on when a person coughs or sneezes. Once airborne it can easily be breathed in by other people, leading to the virus multiplying.

Transmission can also occur when a person touches a surface with flu viruses on it such as a door handle or tissues.

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