Health alert for Italian WYD pilgrims after young woman dies

World Youth Day pilgrims pray as Pope Francis leads benediction during a July 30 prayer vigil as part of World Youth Day at the Field of Mercy in Krakow, Poland. (CNS/Paul Haring)
This article appears in the World Youth Day 2016 feature series. View the full series.

Rome — After an Italian pilgrim to World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, died of meningitis, the Italian bishops' conference advised all pilgrims who visited or attended events at its Casa Italia center in Krakow to see a doctor, especially if they have a high fever, severe headache and rash.

The young female pilgrim from Rome died Aug. 1 in Vienna, where her group stopped on the way back from Italy, according to a note from the Italian bishops' conference, which did not release the young woman's name.

As a precaution, the bishops' statement said, doctors in Vienna administered the antibiotic ciprofloxacin to all the members of the young woman's group and recommended the same for other pilgrims who stayed at Casa Italia or spent a significant amount of time there.

The Casa Italia center was set up at Krakow's Church of St. Bernard of Siena and the adjoining convent. Some Italian pilgrims stayed there during World Youth Day and hundreds more joined them each day for catechesis and Mass in Italian.

Reviewing his trip to Poland during his weekly general audience Aug. 3, Pope Francis said the young woman who died was named Susanna, and he offered special prayers for her. "May the Lord, who certainly has welcomed her into heaven, comfort her family and friends," he added.

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