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NYC voting on circumcision consent law

Sept. 13, 2012 at 7:47 AM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- The New York City mayor supports a proposed measure to make parents aware of the risk of infection in direct oral contact in an Orthodox Jewish circumcision.

Metzitzah b'peh is a practice common in ultra-Orthodox Jewish bris in which the mohel, or Jewish ritual circumciser, places his mouth around the baby's penis to draw blood away from the wound created by the circumcision.

From 2000 through 2011, 11 babies in New York City contracted herpes as a result of the practice, and two died, the city's health department said.

The city's Board of Health is scheduled to vote Thursday on a measure requiring parents to sign a consent form indicating they are aware of the risk of herpes in a bris that includes direct oral contact from the mohel.

The New York Times reported about 70 percent of the city's adult population has oral herpes, which is spread through contact with infected saliva.

"There is no safe way to perform oral suction on an open wound in a newborn," said Dr. Jay K. Varma, the New York City deputy commissioner for disease control.

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