By Reuven Blau / New York Daily News
Two Brooklyn baby boys (not pictured) became sick after the centuries-old, ultra-Orthodox ritual associated with the bris known as metzizah bâ€™peh.
Two Brooklyn infants have contracted herpes through a controversial religious circumcision ritual in the past three months, according to the cityâ€™s Health Department.
The unidentified baby boys became sick after the centuries-old, ultra-Orthodox ritual associated with the bris known as metzizah bâ€™peh.
Under the practice, the rabbi or mohel removes blood from the wound on the babyâ€™s penis with his mouth â€” a practice city Health Department officials have slammed, saying it carries â€œinherent risksâ€ for babies.
The Bloomberg administration has moved to require mohels who perform the ritual to provide parents with a document informing them of the health risks involved. The parents must then sign a consent form.
But several influential religious Jewish organizations have sued, arguing the policy violates the First Amendment.
In January, a federal judge ruled against the groupâ€™s initial legal maneuver to block the new city policy.
â€œAs enacted, the regulation does no more than ensure that parents can make an informed decision whether to grant or deny such consent,â€ said judge Nami Reice Buchwald.
City health officials say babies can contract herpes from the practice, citing 13 cases â€” two fatal â€” since 2000.
In September 2011, a 2-week-old boy died at a Brooklyn hospital after contracting herpes through the ritual, city officials said.
In the latest case, city health officials say one of the babies infected survived after developing a fever and lesion on its scrotum following the circumcision. The parents did not sign a consent form and itâ€™s unclear who performed the circumcision.