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New York Baby Infected With Herpes After Metzitza B'peh Circumcision Rite

Published: February 1, 2014
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Source: Forward

A baby boy has been infected with neonatal herpes following a Jewish ritual circumcision in New York — the third such infection in two years tied to a controversial rite that involves the direct application of the ritual circumciser’s mouth to the baby’s genitals to suction blood from the wound.

The baby was treated for a genital rash five days after he was circumcised, according to a January 28 health alert issued by New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. He is still undergoing treatment and his current condition is unclear.

The department attributed the rash to the controversial circumcision technique, known as metzitzah b’peh, or MBP, which some ultra-Orthodox mohels, or ritual circumcisers, say is an essential component of the ancient religious ritual.

Fourteen babies have contracted herpes following MBP since 2000, according to New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Two of those babies died and two more suffered brain damage.

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