Monday, June 11, 2012

CDC: Metzitza infected 11 Babies in NYC

Time Magazine   The report is sure to reignite a long-simmering debate over public health and religious liberties: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Thursday that 11 baby boys in New York City were infected with herpes between Nov. 2000 and Dec. 2011 following an ultra-Orthodox Jewish circumcision ritual called metzitzah b’peh — or oral suction — in which the mohel puts his mouth directly on the newborn’s circumcised penis and sucks away the blood.

Ten of the babies were hospitalized, at least two developed brain damage and two died, according to the New York City health department. In 2005, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg asked rabbis throughout the city to move away from performing metzitzah b’peh — and also issued an open letter [PDF] to the Jewish community warning of the health risks — but they refused claiming the practice was safe.


  1. The CDC report admits they don't have real numbers and are simply making estimates and projections, which they further admit may be inaccurate.

  2. Here is the actual CDC report:


    By Yerachmiel Simins

    The Centers for Disease Control, an agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services, just published a report stating that the risk for herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) following circumcision with oral suction, or metzitzah b’peh (mbp), was over 3 times greater than among male infants who did not have mbp. However, a closer examination of the data and methodology set forth in the report could point to a contrary conclusion - the risk of HSV-1 with or without mbp may be statistically the same. If so, the demonization of mbp caused by this report may lead public health officials away from addressing some real - and avoidable - causes of neonatal HSV-1...

  4. The preeminent article on Metzitza, which should be read by everone interested in this topic is by Doctor Shlomo Sprecher


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