Herpes cases among babies linked to ultra-Orthodox Jewish circumcision ritual
New York health department alerts doctors to infections linked to ancient ritual in which circumcision wound is cleaned by mouth
A baby boy was rushed to hospital when he developed herpes following a controversial ancient circumcision ritual, it has been reported.
The New York health department alerted doctors to the case of a newborn who fell ill after undergoing the ultra-Orthodox Jewish practice in which the circumcision wound is cleaned by mouth.
A rash is said to have spread across the child’s genitals, buttocks, inner thighs and ankle two weeks after the procedure.
There have been six cases of herpes among children who have had the ritual known as metzitzah b’peh performed on them since February 2015, reported the New York Daily News.
The majority of Jewish circumcision ceremonies do not include metzitzah b’peh, in which the mohel, or circumciser, places their mouth directly on the wound to suck away the blood.
An estimated 3,000 babies are circumcised each year using the method in New York City, home to the largest Jewish population outside Israel.
The city’s mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters officials were in the process of identifying the mohel who had performed the procedure and expected “full cooperation from the community”.
Mr de Blasio retracted the requirement for a parental consent form for the practice two years ago in a compromise with ultra-Orthodox leaders who agreed to help identify and isolate any mohels found to be responsible for an infection.
Of the six previously undisclosed cases, two occurred last year and three in 2015.
Since 2000, there have been 24 cases of infant herpes linked to circumcision, leading to two deaths and two cases of brain damage, according to the New York Post.
Herpes, a highly contagious viral disease which can cause blisters and ulcers, is more severe in newborn babies as their immune systems are not fully developed.
2 thoughts on “Circumcisions and Herpes – Metzizah b’peh Should Be Illegal, Mayor de Blasio”
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Herpes causes a great deal more than blisters and ulcers.
“The outcome of neonatal herpes simplex virus (HSV) disease depends upon the clinical pattern. HSV infection is lifelong, even with appropriate therapy. Recurrence of mucocutaneous lesions, eye disease, and/or central nervous system (CNS) disease may occur….Survivors of neonatal herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection, especially infants with involvement of the central nervous system (CNS), should be followed closely for achievement of developmental milestones . They should undergo formal neurodevelopmental assessments as indicated. Referral to early intervention programs (eg, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy) should be made at the earliest sign of potential impairment……The risk of postnatal transmission of HSV can be minimized by counseling family members with active or recent history of HSV lesions (cold sores, herpetic whitlow, herpetic gingivostomatitis) or to avoid close contact with and kissing the newborn infant.”
“…kissing….” Especially on the baby’s bloody incised penis.