NYC Official Condemns Bris-Related Ritual
‘Metzitzah b’peh,’ involving oral suction, can spread fatal herpes
New York City’s health commissioner has stated unequivocally that metzitzah b’peh, the ritual followed by some in the traditionally Orthodox community wherein the mohel sucks blood from the wound following a bris, absolutely should not be performed. He also announced that several hospitals, including ones that serve neighborhoods with many traditionally Orthodox residents, will distribute a “Before the Bris” brochure, which condemns the practice.
“There is no safe way to perform oral suction on any open wound in a newborn,” he stated.
In this week’s mortality and morbidity report, the Centers for Disease Control announced that from the end of 2000 through 2011, it learned of 11 children contracted herpes simplex virus following a bris; of these, 10 were hospitalized, and two died. In all cases, there is evidence that metzitzah b’peh was additionally performed.