ZSB shares with us the following message from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene:
The New York City Department of Health recommends against the practice, but in any case suggests that parents be told before the bris if MbP is to be used, so that they can make an informed decision...And see these articles in today's NY Daily News and NY Post.
In November 2004, the Health Department was notified of 3 male infants with HSV-1. All were circumcised by one mohel (Mohel B), who performed metzitzah b’peh. The infants developed herpes infection in the genital area 8-10 days after circumcision and were hospitalized for several weeks. One baby died from the infection. Two cases were reported by physicians in 2005 and both are also consistent with infection from metzitzah b’peh. Every case occurred in the time frame consistent with transmission from metzitzah b’peh.
Our investigation found Mohel B to be the source of the 2004 cases, and metzitzah b’peh to be the means of infection for these and other cases...
With an estimated average of fewer than 30 cases of all forms of infant herpes infections occurring per year in New York City, the odds of one mohel being associated with 3 cases of neonatal herpes are infinitesimally small (about 6.9 million to 1)...
Three investigations published within the past 5 years (from New York City , Israel [2, 3] and Canada) describe 11 cases of males with HSV-1 infections on their genitals following metzitzah b’peh...
Susan Blank, MD, MPH Julia Schillinger, MD, MSc
Assistant Commissioner Director of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Research
Bureau of Sexually Transmitted Disease Control
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene1
25 Worth Street
New York, NY 10013