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Are you allowed to go daven with a minyan when you have the flu or other highly contagious illness? Is it considered potentially damaging someone else's health, or are the chances of someone else getting it from you small enough that that shouldn't be a factor? In addition, can you trust the others members of the minyan falling under "Shluchei Mitzvah Einan Nizokim"?

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Please please please don't rely on that. –  Double AA Jan 29 '13 at 17:16
    
@ Double AA, I agree that that wouldn't be enough. See my last edit. –  Shraga Jan 29 '13 at 17:33
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Somewhat related post here, and slightly relevant questions from The Workplace SE here and here. –  Fred Jan 30 '13 at 4:04

2 Answers 2

R. Akiva Eiger (Igrot Sofrim 29) was asked whether minyanim should be held during a cholera outbreak or whether public gatherings should be avoided altogether. His response was that they should continue holding minyanim but in an open area, in groups no larger than 15, where the same 15 people always daven together. This is a compromise where one limits the spread of the disease without giving up tefillah b'tzibbur.

Of course, cholera is more severe than flu for most people, but in R' Eiger's case, no one yet had cholera in the group. My answer would be different if the minyan one goes to is populated by college students than if it were populated by octogenarians.

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It should be noted, however, that germ theory was not yet accepted (nor, I think, even postulated) by his time. –  Seth J Apr 22 '13 at 4:30

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA advises:

Preventing the Flu: Good Health Habits Can Help Stop Germs

  1. Avoid close contact. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

2. Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

I have not seen any specific halachic references to this point.

I think Hillel's maxim דעלך סני לחברך לא תעביד (Shabbos 31) is applicable.

Would you like to daven in a minyan with someone who had the flu?

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The question is: is it just overall better, or is there actually a high likelihood you'll actually make someone sick? I note that they say "if possible" you should stay home from work. If the chances were really high of making someone sick, I think they wold have worded it stronger, no? So should praying with a minyan be any less than work or errands? –  Shraga Jan 29 '13 at 22:58
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@Shraga From a 2010 survey cited here: "Most (68%) didn't know that a flu virus from a sneeze or cough can travel 5 or 6 feet. 44% thought they would be more likely to catch flu from touching something with the virus, such as a doorknob, although catching it is more likely by being around someone with it when they cough or sneeze." So, yes it does appear that there is a high liklihood of making someone sick. –  Fred Jan 30 '13 at 3:59

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