New Case Of Infant Herpes Caused By Orthodox Jewish Circumcision

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New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio repealed a rule requiring parental consent before a controversial ultra-Orthodox Jewish circumcision (metzitzah b’peh) was performed, as the practice entails sucking blood from the incision, which can expose the child to herpes.  Twenty four cases of herpes have been reported by the health department since 2000, which led to two infant deaths and two cases of brain damage.  The mohel involved in the latest case has not been identified.

The city Health Department has reported a new case of neonatal herpes caused by a controversial ritual Jewish circumcision.

The ancient practice — known as metzitzah b’peh — requires a mohel, the person performing the circumcision, to suck blood from the incision on an infant’s penis.

It has long been linked to neonatal herpes and has consistently raised red flags in the medical community.

The practice continues without restriction in the city after Mayor de Blasio made a pledge to the ­Hasidic community during his 2013 campaign to lift a requirement of written parental consent.

Health officials sent out an alert to doctors Wednesday about the latest case and urged them to be vigilant.

The infant in the new case was hospitalized for 14 days and was reported to be ­recovering.

According to the Health Department, 24 cases of herpes have been linked to circumcision since 2000. Two of the infants died and two others suffered brain damage.

Last year, there were two cases. In 2015, there were three cases.

Since 2006, 22 percent of all male neonatal herpes cases were linked to ritual circumcision.

Leaders of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community have opposed any restrictions on the centuries-old ritual as an infringement on religious freedom.

Mohels who perform the circumcisions are not even required to be tested for herpes, according to Health Department rules.

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