Current Weather
The Spy FM

Infection Risk Prompts New York City To Regulate Ritual Circumcision

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
September 13, 2012

There’s no ready euphemism for this, so be warned.

The New York City Board of Health voted unanimously today in favor of a new regulation that would require parents of young boys who undergo ritual circumcisions involving “direct oral suction” to sign a consent form first.

Earlier this year, the health department warned parents and mohelin, the Jewish ritual circumcisers, to “follow strict infection control practices whenever a male baby is circumcised.”

The health department had previously investigated infections of circumcised newborns with the herpes virus that causes cold sores. While nothing too serious for most adults, infections with HSV infection in newborns can lead to “death or permanent disability,” the health department said.

Over a little more than a decade, the department became aware of 11 cases of serious herpes infections in boys circumcised outside the hospital. Ten of the children were hospitalized. Two died.

Most herpes infections in newborns are transmitted from mother to child. But that common route wasn’t suspected in these cases. Instead they were linked to ultra-Orthodox Jewish circumcisions involving a “practice known as metzitzah b’peh, in which the circumciser (mohel, plural: mohelim) places his mouth directly on the newly circumcised penis and sucks blood away from the circumcision wound,” a report on the investigation said.

The health department obtained a cease-and-desist order against one mohel involved in those circumcisions. The findings from that investigation were published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report in June.

Although the new regulation requiring consent would not ban the practice, it still drew fire. One mohel told The New York Times he would rather be jailed than go along with the consent requirements. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

12PM to 1PM Fresh Air

Fresh Air

This one-hour program features Terry Gross' in-depth interviews with prominent cultural and entertainment figures, as well as distinguished experts on current affairs and news.

Listen Live Now!

1PM to 2PM Talk of the Nation

Talk of the Nation

Journalist Neal Conan leads a productive exchange of ideas and opinions on the issues that dominate the news landscape.

View the program guide!

2PM to 3PM PRI's The World

PRI's The World

Get a fresh perspective of people, events and trends that shape our world. Host Lisa Mullins covers a wide range of topics, including science, business, technology, sports, art and music.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center