New York City’s health commissioner has stated unequivocally that metzitzah b’peh, the ritual followed by some in the traditionally Orthodox community wherein the mohel sucks blood from the wound following a bris, absolutely should not be performed. He also announced that several hospitals, including ones that serve neighborhoods with many traditionally Orthodox residents, will distribute a “Before the Bris” brochure, which condemns the practice.
“There is no safe way to perform oral suction on any open wound in a newborn,” he stated.
In this week’s mortality and morbidity report, the Centers for Disease Control announced that from the end of 2000 through 2011, it learned of 11 children contracted herpes simplex virus following a bris; of these, 10 were hospitalized, and two died. In all cases, there is evidence that metzitzah b’peh was additionally performed.