Breaking! Another NYC Baby Gets Herpes From Dangerous Haredi Circumcision Ritual

 

Metzitzah b'peh Chabad closeup

 

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has sent out an alert to medical providers warning them that another baby now has Herpes Simplex Virus 1 that was transmitted to the baby through metzitzah b’peh, the direct mouth-to-bleeding-penis sucking done briefly by haredi mohels after cutting off the foreskin.

Metzitzah b'peh Chabad closeup

Direct oral suction during ritual Jewish circumcision (metzitzah b’peh) has been documented to transmit herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1 to newborn males (1-4). In December 2012, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) received a report of a new case of HSV-1 infection in a newborn male infant attributable to direct oral suction.
In total, 12 laboratory-confirmed cases of HSV-infection attributable to direct oral suction have now been reported to DOHMH from 2000 – 2012. Two of these infants died, and two others suffered brain damage (4). In the most recent case, the location of herpes lesions (on the penis), viral type (HSV type 1, which is commonly found in the mouth of adults), and timing of infection (10 days after circumcision) are consistent with transmission during direct contact between the mouth of the ritual circumciser (mohel) and the newly circumcised infant penis. When evaluating an ill infant boy in the weeks following circumcision, providers should inquire whether direct oral suction was performed during circumcision and consider infection with HSV or other oral pathogens. Consult with a pediatric infectious disease specialist for guidance regarding the diagnosis and management of an infant with suspected herpes infection; also, see reference #5 under “References and resources” at the end of this alert.…

 

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