New case of neonatal herpes caused by Jewish circumcision

Discussion in 'Brews 'n Jews' started by The Bobster, Mar 8, 2017.

  1. The Bobster Forum Veteran

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    http://nypost.com/2017/03/08/new-cas...-circumcision/

    New case of neonatal herpes caused by Jewish circumcision
    By Carl Campanile
    March 8, 2017 | 1:49pm | Updated

    [IMG]
    A Jewish Infant during his circumcision ceremony.
    Shutterstock


    The New York City Health Department has reported a new case of neonatal herpes caused by the controversial ritual Jewish circumcision known as “metzitzah b’peh.”

    The ancient practice requires a mohel, the person performing the circumcision, to suck blood away from the incision of an infant’s penis.

    It has long been linked to neonatal herpes.

    Health officials sent out an alert to doctors Wednesday to be on the lookout for new cases.

    “When evaluating male infants with suggestive symptoms in the weeks following out-of-hospital circumcision, providers should inquire whether direct orogenital suction (metzitzah b’peh) was performed during circumcision and consider infection with herpes simplex virus (HSV) or other oral pathogens,” Judith Schillinger and Susan Blank of the Health Department’s Bureau of Sexually Transmitted Disease Control said in the alert.

    The infant in the latest case was hospitalized for 14 days.

    Most cases of neonatal herpes are acquired during delivery, when a newborn passes through the birth canal of a woman who has a genital herpes infection.

    But in New York City a “substantial proportion” of male neonatal herpes cases are related to metzitzah b’pehn circumcision.

    The city has required neonatal testing for herpes since 2006.

    According to the Health Department, 24 cases of herpes were linked to circumcision since 2000. Two of the infants died and two others suffered brain damage.

    Last year, there were two cases. In 2015, there were three cases.

    Since 2006, 22 percent of all neonatal herpes causes were linked to ritual circumcision.

    Medical officials have tried to discourage and even stop the ritual, which they say unnecessarily endangers the health of infants with a “preventable infection.”

    But leaders of the ultra-Orthodox community have opposed any restrictions on the centuries-old ritual as an infringement on religious freedom.

    The Bloomberg administration required parents to sign a consent form to allow the practice.

    But Mayor de Blasio pledged to eliminate the consent form during his 2013 run for City Hall. Following negotiations with religious leaders, de Blasio and the city Board of Health scrapped the requirement in 2015.

    As part of the compromise, the Health Department distributes pamphlets to doctors, hospitals and parents (Make a Safe Bris for Your Baby) warning that “some babies can get herpes, which can even lead to death” following metzitzah b’peh.

    It also urges parents to talk to the baby’s doctor and to look out for little bumps and blisters around the infant’s genitals and buttocks following the circumcision.

    But health officials fretted that many parents haven’t seen the brochures.

    “Despite these efforts, parents of case-patients infected have not reported seeing the pamphlet or poster,” the alert said.
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  2. WFHermans Forum Veteran

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    Only someone who is a child molester would agree to allow this jewish ritual.

    Hitler was wrong. He was too soft on jews.
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  3. The Bobster Forum Veteran

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    http://nypost.com/2017/03/10/code-of...cting-mohelim/

    ‘Code of silence’ blocking DOH from finding herpes-infecting mohelim
    By Carl Campanile
    March 10, 2017 | 1:32am

    [IMG]
    Orthodox Jews holding a Circumcision ceremony
    Getty Images


    The city Health Department admitted Thursday that it is often unable to identify practitioners who infect newborns with herpes through a controversial ritual Jewish circumcision — because of a code of silence in the ultra-*Orthodox community.

    Since 2015, there have been six neonatal cases of herpes linked to the ancient practice known as metzitzah b’peh, which requires a mohel, the person performing the circumcision, to suck blood from the incision on an infant’s penis.

    But only two mohelim have been identified for endangering the lives of infants since then.

    The Health Department has yet to find the mohel behind the most recent case, first reported Wednesday. It issued a statement Thursday night noting potential obstacles to its investigation.

    “Identifying a mohel has always been challenging, and it generally takes time,” the statement read.

    “Unfortunately, some in the community are resistant. We are hopeful that won’t happen with this new case, but we don’t know yet.”

    The practice has pitted public-health officials against leaders in the Hasidic community, who see regulation as an infringement on a religious ritual.
  4. The Bobster Forum Veteran

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    http://nypost.com/2017/03/10/de-blas...s-with-herpes/

    De Blasio never enforced agreement to ID mohels with herpes
    By Yoav Gonen and Carl Campanile
    March 10, 2017 | 10:04pm | Updated

    The de Blasio administration has never enforced an agreement it made two years ago to identify mohels who transmit herpes to infants during circumcisions — which it boasted would protect both “children and religious rights.”

    A new case of life-threatening herpes in a newborn has made a shambles of that claim, as the Department of Health scrambles to track down the latest mohel who may be carrying the virus.

    The Mayor’s Office announced on Feb. 24, 2015, that “for the first time” a rabbinical coalition “from across New York City” had pledged to turn over the mohels linked to spreading herpes and require them to undergo testing.

    If there was a match to an infected infant, the mohel would be banned for life from performing circumcisions.

    “This new agreement fulfills the mayor’s commitment to finding a more effective policy that protects children and religious rights in a way that more actively engages the cooperation of the community.

    This agreement focuses on two key areas: maximizing awareness of parents and minimizing risk to infants,” City Hall said in a fact sheet at the time.

    The agreement was meant to allay concerns after the administration removed a restriction imposed under Mayor Michael Bloomberg that required parents to sign consent forms before a mohel could perform the ancient ritual known as metzitzah b’peh.

    The practice requires the mohel to suck blood from the incision on an infant’s penis.

    But the self-policing hasn’t worked.

    There have been six neonatal cases of herpes resulting from metzitzah b’peh since the deal was announced in 2015, and only two of the suspect mohels have been identified.

    The city Health Department said that a code of silence in the Hasidic and other ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities has made it difficult to track down the mohels who could be spreading the virus.

    “Given how protective families are of mohels and the practice of metzitzah, working with families and the community when there is a new case of neonatal herpes continues to be our better option,” the department said.

    “That said, our main priority is to protect the health of babies,” it said. “If the community is not living up to the deal announced in 2015, we’ll go back to the drawing board and start over,” the department said.

    The mohel responsible for the herpes case announced this week has not yet been found, even as health officials say they are speaking with the family of the infected infant.

    Since 2000, a total of 24 infants have been infected. Two have died and two others have suffered brain damage.

    The Health Department does not track infants once they have recovered.

    One legislator defended the administration’s handling of the religiously sensitive and politically explosive issue, arguing that it is best to bolster safety with the ultra-Orthodox community through cooperation rather than government edict.

    “I’m a big believer in catching more flies with honey than vinegar.

    Education and outreach is the way to win that cooperation,” said Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gott*fried.

    Given that legal issues involving religious freedom come into play, Gott*fried said he doubts a new city or state law to enforce testing of mohels would be upheld.
  5. Roy Fokker Forum Veteran

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  6. The Bobster Forum Veteran

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    http://nypost.com/2017/03/16/city-co...-circumcision/

    City Council vows action on controversial circumcision
    By Michael Gartland
    March 16, 2017 | 4:03pm | Updated

    If the Health Department doesn’t take a tougher stand on a controversial circumcision rite, the City Council says it will step in.

    “We are looking into it at this moment,” Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said Thursday. “We are obviously going to see what the Department of Health, what action they take, and then decide what steps we will take.”

    The Orthodox Jewish ritual known as metzitzah b’peh has led to cases of neonatal herpes since Mayor de Blasio hammered out a 2015 deal with religious leaders to eliminate a requirement that parents give written consent before the procedure is performed.

    Since then, six infants have been infected during circumcisions where the ancient ritual was practiced.

    But de Blasio has yet to enforce the agreement, which requires a rabbinical coalition to identify mohels who performs circumcisions and transmit the virus to infants.

    The ritual, which involves a mohel sucking the blood from the incision on an infant’s penis, is permitted under the deal as long as infected mohels are identified then banned from the practice.

    But the rabbinical coalition has yet to identify name four of the six mohels involved in the six cases.

    The city Health Department said earlier this week it could go “back to the drawing board” on the city’s agreement, but still hasn’t issued alternatives.

    The Council is currently weighing its options and is in conversations with the mayor’s office, Mark-Viverito said. She declined to provide a time frame for action.

    “This is something that is a concern to a lot of people,” she said. “We are looking into what options we may have available.”
  7. The Bobster Forum Veteran

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    http://nypost.com/2017/03/30/citys-2...ing-to-mohels/

    City’s $2K circumcision fine ‘is like nothing’ for mohels
    By Lia Eustachewich, Max Jaeger and Reuven Fenton
    March 30, 2017 | 11:28pm | Updated

    The city’s $2,000 fine to stop unsafe circumcisions is a mere cost-of-doing-business slap that will do nothing to deter the *lucrative but potentially disease-spreading ritual, mohels and community members railed Thursday to The Post.

    Mohels can rake in up to $1,500 per bris — the Jewish circumcision ritual — and often perform as many as 10 a week — turning the monetary penalty into chump change, experts said.

    “A $2,000 fine is like nothing,” fumed Dr. Jeffrey Mazlin, an *OB-GYN and part-time mohel. “Some of these Orthodox mohelim are doing 10 in a week — they’re full-time mohels — so $2,000 is a slap on the wrist. They could be making loads of money.

    “Orthodox mohelim are rabbis, and then they say, ‘Donate to the synagogue,’ and they get a kickback,” Mazlin added.

    Mohel Lucy Eisenstein Waldman also scoffed that the fine wasn’t enough.

    “It’s not a lot at all, given the damage that occurs,” she said. “It’s safer for these babies if this practice is ended.”

    An Orthodox-community advocate called the punishment threatened by Mayor de Blasio a “joke” considering the potential consequences.

    “It’s a ridiculously low penalty to pay for a child living a life of hell with herpes,” the advocate said. “Given what mohels make today, $2,000 would not be a *deterrent for any mohel to continue in his practice.”

    The city claims its hands are tied when it comes to publicly outing two mohels believed to be responsible for six cases of neonatal herpes as a result of metzitzah b’peh — a circumcision ritual in which mohels suck the blood from the incision on the baby’s penis.

    Instead, in a March 17 letter, the city Health Department ordered the offending mohels to stop performing the high-risk ritual or face the $2,000 fine.

    Parents are now also being urged to ask their mohels if they’re infected with herpes.

    But Mazlin and others think the city is doing the public harm by keeping the mohels’ names secret.

    “These people still feel that it is important to do [metzitzah b’peh] and parents should know about these people so they have a choice to use them or not,” he said.

    Cantor Philip Sherman said he doesn’t believe the city’s new circumcision policy is actually enforceable.

    “Many ultra-religious individuals are very wary of civil authorities and they won’t really follow what civil authorities are dictating,” said Sherman, a mohel for 40 years who has performed close to 22,000 circumcisions.

    Mohel wannabes undergo a year of training before they’re deemed qualified to perform circumcisions — and don’t need to be officially certified, like medical doctors, to start working.

    “Theoretically, someone can hang out a shingle and say, ‘OK. I’m a mohel.’ Anyone who *decides to be a mohel can be a mohel,” said Sherman.

    But he said that first and foremost, a prospective mohel must be religiously observant and uphold Jewish law to the fullest.

    Sherman said there are other methods to performing metzitzah b’peh, including using a tube or sterile gauze, that don’t involve direct oral contact with the baby.

    “They don’t have to stop doing brises, they just have to modify what they’re doing,” Sherman said. “It’s not a medical procedure. It’s a profoundly significant and beautiful Jewish life- cycle event.”
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