New York – NY Times: Baby’s Death Renews Debate Over ‘Metzitzah B’peh’ As DA Continues To Investigate


    New York – Prosecutors are investigating the death of a newborn boy who died in September after contracting herpes through a controversial practice of ritual circumcision, reviving a debate in New York over safety and religious freedom.

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    The Brooklyn district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, confirmed on Wednesday that the investigation was continuing, but declined to comment further.

    The cause of death of the 2-week-old boy, who died at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn on Sept. 28, was Type 1 herpes, caused by “ritual circumcision with oral suction,” according to the medical examiner’s office.

    The ritual of oral suction — or in Hebrew, metzitzah b’peh — is practiced almost exclusively in ultra-Orthodox communities and, to a lesser degree, in Orthodox Jewish communities, despite efforts by the city to curtail it and educate communities about its health risks. The procedure occurs during the circumcision ritual of the bris, as the practitioner, or mohel, removes the foreskin of the penis and then sucks the blood from the wound to clean it.

    Roughly two-thirds of newborn boys in the city’s Orthodox communities are circumcised with metzitzah b’peh, said Rabbi David Zwiebel, the executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America, who said he was using a calculation based on religious school enrollment figures.

    He said that the mohels in the Hasidic community were cognizant of hygiene and that there were things they could do to reduce the risk of herpes without ending the practice. “We’re not oblivious to what’s going on,” Rabbi Zwiebel said.

    “The worst thing that could happen is if the authorities regulate this practice, then it could go underground,” he said. “I think the practice would continue, but there could be significant difficulty in gathering evidence. I would hope that our government officials take steps in conjunction with the community.”

    Full story at The NY Times

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    12 years ago

    The public must be able to differentiate “news” they read, as to what constitutes true medical science VS. what is a Political Which Hunt against MBP with absolutely ZERO medical scientific evidence that MBP, is at all EVER a factor in transmission of any illness EVER period.

    The mohel is unknown, was never tested and neither was the mother or relatives tested to see if they could have transmitted the illness, even without Mila. It’s known that a baby can get Herpes from the mothers blood during childbirth + by nursing form the mother if the mother is infected + the baby can get it from KISSING of anyone who kisses the baby (father, mother siblings or relatives) and so there is zero “probable cause” to suspect MBP.

    12 years ago

    There is clear evidence which proves that it’s almost IMPOSSIBLE fo MBP to EVER cause herpes and statistics proves it as follows:

    STATISTICS (you can goggle it)

    1) About 85% of people are exposed and have Herpes Type 1

    2) Since statistics say that 85% of people have it, this virtually PROVES that in all likelihood, statistically speaking

    85% of Mohalim have Herpes Type 1

    Therefore it is clearly proven, by 2 scientific proofs that it’s impossible to say that that there is any reasonable scientific LIKELIHOOD that MBP can EVER cause herpes type 1

    A) the 85% of ALL people who successfully and effectively have herpes type 1 – 99.99999% of them did NOT have MBP – so obviously the method of transmission 99.99999% of the time is anything EXCEPT MPB

    B) Since it’s scientific fact that 85% of people have it, it means that in all likelihood and based on scientific probability we must say that 85% of all Mohalim have it too!

    Since we have established a scientific statistical probability that 85% of all Mohalim likely have Herpes Type 1 – yet we see that 99.999999% of the babies they perform Mila on and MBP, then DON’T get Herpes Type

    We don’t Ban airplanes because 1 in a million crashes

    12 years ago

    shu”t binyan tzion siman 23 ‘we must set up a guard to make sure no people with mouth sickness are mohalim’.