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COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA (ABN: 122 104 616)
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Sunday, April 27, 2014
Two more babies stricken with herpes after ritual ultra-orthodox Jewish oral blood sucking circumcision in New York City
Since 2000 13 known cases of herpes have been contracted from the religious practice
Two deaths and two babies suffering brain damage have resulted
Department of health warns there being no safe way to perform the ritual that dates back more than 5,000 years
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.
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.
ultra-Orthodox Jewish 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.
Contraction: 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 (file photo)
The department of health says
one of the latest infants to contract the virus developed a fever and a
lesion on its scrotum, seven days after the procedure. The boy later
tested positive for HSV-1.
That virus differs from HSV-2, the genital herpes, which is contracted during sexual intercourse.
herpes infection in a newborn baby has the risk of leading to severe
illness and death,' Jay Varma, deputy commissioner for disease control
at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene told ABC News.
'The reason is that the baby
doesn't have the same fully developed immune system as an adult. Instead
of staying in the genital area, it extends throughout different organs
in the body,' he explained. He said it's too soon to tell whether the boys will suffer permanent effects. The
identify of the rabbi who performed the circumcision is being withheld
by the boys' parents, preventing the health department to step in, they
Dangers: Since 2000 13 known cases of herpes
have resulted from the practice, two of which suffered brain damage and
two others died.
The religious practice that
dates back to more than 5,000 years defies warning by the city's
department of health which says there is no safe way to perform the oral
suction on an open wound.
More modern Jewish practices use a sterile aspiration device to clean the wound or a pipette opposed to the oral sucking.
But some rabbis stand grounded behind the practice, calling it a religious freedom while noting its long history. In
September the department voted to require parents to sign forms
consenting to the risks of the practice after the death of two children
who contracted the virus through the practice.
The parents of those newly infected boys are said to have not signed those forms. According
to Rabbi David Zwiebel, executive vice president of the Orthodox Jewish
organization Agudath Israel of America, two-thirds of boys born in New
York City's Hasidic communities are circumcised in the oral suction
matter. The health
department claims they've had complaints in past by parents who say they
weren't made aware that the oral practice would be performed on their