Another newborn boy has contracted herpes after a controversial Jewish circumcision ritual — the fourth case this year and the 17th since 2000, city health officials said Wednesday.
The baby was rushed to the hospital 12 days after undergoing the ancient ritual, known as metzitzah b’peh, which involves cleaning the circumcision wound by oral suction.
The unidentified boy has recovered, but two of the other infected infants since 2000 died, and at least two suffered brain damage.
The oral suction ritual is practiced by a small number of ultra-Orthodox Jews. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that it is performed 3,600 times a year in New York city.
Some Orthodox rabbis contend there's no medical proof that babies can became sick due to the circumcisions.
In the latest case, however, the Health Department said the newborn’s symptoms, the timing of the herpes outbreak and laboratory confirmation of the herpes simplex type 1 virus “are consistent” with transmission as a result of the oral suction procedure.