State News

Churches adjust services to avoid new flu virus

Posted May 3, 2009 11:37 a.m. EDT

— Triangle churches took precautions to prevent spreading the H1N1 virus during Sunday worship services, while North Carolina waited for testing to prove if the state has any cases of the virus, also known as the swine flu.

Some denominations have suggested that a common cup not be used for communion and hand sanitizer be given to those who distribute communion. Some congregations replaced the sign of peace handshake with a nod of peace.

Other churches have sent out e-mails reminding members to seek medical attention and stay home if they believe they might be sick or contagious.

State health investigators have sent samples for four probable cases to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for testing. Results are expected at any time.

Two of the probable cases come from a family in Onslow County which had recently traveled to Mexico, and one involves a traveler in Wake County, who has been allowed to return to Canada. The fourth probable case is in Craven County, and officials are still investigating how that person could have gotten the disease.

State lab technicians are working around the clock and have tested 334 specimens, with 258 coming back negative and 76 still pending.