Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Metzitzah Be-Feh Regulation

From the Albany Times Union:

Rabbis, State Sign Health Rules For Metzizah B'peh Circumcision Ritual

Albany, NY - Commissioner Antonia Novello, in a pink suit and gold jewelry, and a sea of rabbis with long beards, black suits and hats signed a new protocol Monday that attempts to respect both an ultra-Orthodox Jewish ritual and public health concerns...

The new state guidelines require mohels, or anyone performing metzizah b'peh, to sanitize their hands like a surgeon, removing all jewelry, cleaning their nails under running water and washing their hands for up to six minutes with antimicrobial soap or an alcohol-based hand scrub.

The person performing metzizah b'peh also must clean his mouth with a sterile alcohol wipe and, no more than five minutes before it, rinse for at least 30 seconds with a mouthwash that contains 25 percent alcohol.
The circumcised area must be covered with antibiotic ointment and sterile gauze after the procedure.

In addition to the rabbinical policies, the state Health Department also added neonatal herpes to the list of diseases health care workers are required to report to state officials.

If a baby who underwent metzizah b'peh does contract herpes, the mohel, the infant's parents and health care workers will be tested. If the mohel has the same viral strain as the baby, the mohel will be barred from conducting any future circumcisions.

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