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Orthodox Jewish Circumcision Ritual Results In Two Infant Herpes Deaths

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From 2000 to 2011, 11 newborn males contracted the herpes simplex virus (HSV), following an out-of-hospital ritual Jewish circumcision, a report from the CDC published on Friday, June 8 said.

HSV in newborns may result in death or permanent disability. In the 11 cases in question, two newborns developed brain damage and two died, according to the New York City Health Department.

Parents of six of the children confirmed their children underwent the Orthodox Jewish practice of metzitzah b'peh, in which the mohel (circumciser) places his mouth directly on the bleeding penis and sucks away the excess blood.

"Circumcision is a surgical procedure that can transmit infection if not performed under sterile conditions," the CDC said in a press release.

"Oral contact with an open wound in a neonate risks transmission of HSV and other pathogens. Professionals advising parents and parents choosing Jewish ritual circumcision should be aware of this risk, and direct orogenital suction should be avoided."

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