Babies stricken with HERPES after ritual oral blood sucking circumcision in NYC


Babies stricken with HERPES after ritual oral blood sucking circumcision in NYC

Two more infants have been infected with a deadly herpes virus in the last three months after undergoing a controversial religious oral circumcision in New York City.

The latest cases bring the count to 13 infants since 2000, two of which suffered brain damage and two died from the virus which can rapidly spread throughout its body.

The ultra-Orthodox practice of metzitzah b’peh requires a practitioner to orally suck the baby’s penis to ‘cleanse’ the open wound following its circumcision, making them susceptible to the virus.

The only thing that pops into my head is “wtf???”


This is NOT a limited practice of the ultra orthodox…but I agree with your reaction!

Neonatal Genital Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Infection After Jewish Ritual Circumcision: Modern Medicine and Religious Tradition

"Methods. Eight neonates with genital HSV-1 infection after ritual circumcision were identified.

Results. The average interval from circumcision to clinical manifestations was 7.25 ± 2.5 days. In all cases, the traditional circumciser (the mohel) had performed the ancient custom of orally suctioning the blood after cutting the foreskin (oral metzitzah), which is currently practiced by only a minority of mohels. Six infants received intravenous acyclovir therapy. Four infants had recurrent episodes of genital HSV infection, and 1 developed HSV encephalitis with neurologic sequelae. All four mohels tested for HSV antibodies were seropositive.

Conclusion. Ritual Jewish circumcision that includes metzitzah with direct oral–genital contact carries a serious risk for transmission of HSV from mohels to neonates, which can be complicated by protracted or severe infection. Oral metzitzah after ritual circumcision may be hazardous to the neonate.

**Biblical sources dictate routine ritual circumcision at 8 days of age for Jewish boys. This procedure is widely accepted, and 60% to 90% of newborn boys of the Jewish population in the United States undergo this procedure,1,2 which also has an important cultural and historical role. **The medically beneficial versus harmful consequences have long been debated.3 Circumcision has been reported to reduce the incidence of urinary tract infections in infants,4 young boys under the age of 2 years,5 and preschool boys.6 Pathologic phimosis and paraphimosis is precluded by the absence of a foreskin, and balanitis and posthitis (inflammation of the prepuce) primarily affect uncircumcised male individuals. Virtually all sexually transmitted diseases,7 including human immunodeficiency virus infection,6,8 are reported to be more common in uncircumcised men.

Both immediate and long-term complications of ritual circumcision are rare, probably because of the specific and meticulous precautions required by Jewish law. Only an experienced and qualified circumciser, the mohel, is allowed to perform circumcision. Historically, Jewish ritual circumcision consists of 3 parts: 1) the excision of the outer part of the prepuce (milah), 2) slitting of the foreskin’s inner lining to facilitate the total uncovering of the glans (peri’ah), and 3) the sucking of the blood from the wound. Formerly, the mohel took some wine in his mouth and applied his lips to the part involved in the operation and exerted suction, after which he expelled the mixture of wine and blood into a receptacle provided for this purpose; this procedure was repeated several times until bleeding stopped (metzitzah). The first 2 parts are the act of circumcision, whereas the removal of the blood was done for medical reasons of wound care. However, the ancient procedure of metzitzah also carries a risk of infection, and currently most mohels use an appropriate suction device, such as a mucus extractor.

The incidence of neonatal herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections ranges from 1 to 6 per 20 000 live births. Most neonatal HSV infections result from exposure to infectious maternal genital secretions at delivery. Postnatal transmission usually results from nongenital infection of a caregiver, including parent or nursery personnel with oral lesions.9 Nosocomial transmission in nurseries has been documented.9 We present 8 infants who developed neonatal HSV-1 infection after oral metzitzah following ritual circumcision, most probably as a consequence of transmission by the mohel’s saliva.


You may have missed a distinction, Cam. Circumcision is required by the Torah, BUT the practice this news piece speaks of is not. The sucking of the blood is, evidently, a peculiar practice of a very few. How it is done without unintentionally violating the Torah’s prohibition of eating blood (and an unintentional violation is regarded therein as a violation), I don’t know.


this is so barbaric I don’t even know what to say!


The sucking is bad enough, but why are we still cutting babies’ penises?

Poor babies. :frowning:


This is going to be one of those, “I shouldn’t have to go there,” posts, but …

First of all, your question is a, “Have you stopped beating your wife?” kind of question. Because circumcision cuts and removes the foreskin, not the penis.

Unlike the various types of female genital mutilation (which Trekky did not bring up):

  • Circumcision does not interfere with or make more difficult having sexual intercourse. Jewish people have been demonstrating this, by being able to procreate, for some 4 millennia;

  • Circumcision does not interfere with sexual pleasure;

  • Circumcision does not prevent or interfere with normal urination;

  • OTOH, as the quote Cam posted indicates, ordinary circumcision - blood not sucked - is linked to multiple health benefits.


Yeah that pretty much sums it up.


I’m pretty sure the health benefits are few if any, and they can easily get the same health benefits with proper hygiene. I just don’t think that warrants cutting off the foreskin of a baby.


You’re “pretty sure.” I’m sold…


Yeah…he completely ignored the fact that circumcision is done primarily for religious purposes. I am not sure why the gentiles started doing it. But it’s up to the PARENTS!!!


Do I really have the burden of proof? Isn’t it up to those who support it to show the health benefits of circumcision, not for me to prove there aren’t any?

Should religious practices justify someone performing irreversible medical procedures on someone who may not even grow up into that religion?


I didn’t even enter this debate until you made your “pretty sure” remark, although I have my own opinion. You put yourself on record as “pretty sure;” defend your statement or risk being called on it. That’s your choice.


Easier hygiene. Circumcision makes it simpler to wash the penis. Washing beneath the foreskin of an uncircumcised penis is generally easy, however.
Decreased risk of urinary tract infections. The overall risk of urinary tract infections in males is low, but these infections are more common in uncircumcised males. Severe infections early in life can lead to kidney problems later on.
Decreased risk of sexually transmitted infections. Circumcised men might have a lower risk of certain sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Still, safe sexual practices remain essential.
Prevention of penile problems. Occasionally, the foreskin on an uncircumcised penis can be difficult or impossible to retract (phimosis). This can lead to inflammation of the foreskin or head of the penis.
Decreased risk of penile cancer. Although cancer of the penis is rare, it’s less common in circumcised men. In addition, cervical cancer is less common in the female sexual partners of circumcised men.

So you have to ask yourself if performing an irreversible, and primarily religious procedure onto an infant is worth these benefits, most of which can be solved with proper hygiene and washing under the foreskin, or by using a condom.


This is the last time I’m going to respond to these asinine remarks, Trekky. Your statements are beyond ridiculous. Either one of two things is occurring here: 1.) you say these ridiculous and baseless statements because you are truly ignorant or stupid, or 2.) you say these things to get a rise out of the folks here. Tell you what, why don’t you go into business in finding other suitable living quarters for unborn human fetuses, and then you can also hire seamstresses to sew back on the foreskin of unfortunate Jewish baby boys who are abused by their parents, huh? Absolute imbecility…


Is it a silly question to ask if a religious practice justifies an irreversible medical procedure? It’s not child abuse or anything, I just want to know why it being a religious practices justifies it when it is, essentially, surgery.


There was a sailor on my ship, in my division, in the U.S.Navy who got circumcised because of repeated infections, not STDs, external infections due to trapped bacteria under the foreskin.
Wasn’t me, I was circumcised at birth, in a hospital, no blood sucking.


So you arrived at this from “pretty sure?”…


I arrived at them from the quoted health benefits of circumcision. Infection and other problems can be solved by cleaning under the foreskin, and STD spread can be stopped with condoms. So do those benefits justify the procedure.


The vast majority of males circumcised in the US will not grow up in a religion that mandates it (Judaism and Islam).