Main | Wednesday, March 07, 2012

NYC Cops Investigate Infant Herpes Death After Jewish Circumcision Ritual

The Brooklyn District Attorney's office is investigating the death of a two week-old boy who contracted herpes during a creepy Ultra Orthodox Jewish circumcision ritual in which the rabbi sucks the blood from the baby's penis.
The cause of death was listed as “disseminated herpes simplex virus Type 1, complicating ritual circumcision with oral suction.” Mayor Bloomberg Tuesday defended that finding. “The doctors who found this are objective and independent scientists who don’t answer to anyone, including whoever is Mayor,” he told reporters at an unrelated event in The Bronx. “One more point: There’s probably nobody in public life who fights harder for the separation of church and state than me. But religious liberty simply does not extend to injuring others or putting children at risk," Bloomberg continued.
The NYC Department of Health has a fact sheet denouncing the practice.
In metzitzah b'peh, the mohel places his mouth on the freshly circumcised penis to draw blood away from the cut. If the mohel is infected with oral herpes (as most adults are), metzitzah b'peh can expose the infant to the herpes virus. While severe illness associated with this practice may be rare , there is a definite risk of infection.
Even though there is an investigation underway, charges are unlikely as the ritual is not yet against city or state health laws. That may soon change.

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