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2012-03-03 NY Daily News - Infant's death at Maimonides Hospital linked to circumcision

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  • 2012-03-03 NY Daily News - Infant's death at Maimonides Hospital linked to circumcision

    Infant's death at Maimonides Hospital linked to circumcision
    Unidentified infant died in September of 2011 after contracting herpes

    BY THOMAS ZAMBITO NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
    Saturday, March 3, 2012, 12:11 PM

    An infant in Brooklyn died after contracting herpes through a religious circumcision ritual.

    A two-week old boy died at a Brooklyn hospital in September after contracting herpes through a religious circumcision ritual that ignited controversy in 2005 after another infant died, the Daily News has learned.

    The unidentified infant died Sept. 28, 2011, at Maimonides Hospital, according to a spokeswoman for the city Medical Examiner, who confirmed the death after a News inquiry.

    The cause of death was listed as “disseminated herpes simplex virus Type 1, complicating ritual circumcision with oral suction.”

    City officials declined to comment Friday.

    It’s unclear who performed the circumcision.

    In 2004, city health officials revealed that a baby boy died after a circumcision carried out by a Rockland County rabbi who specializes in the centuries-old, ultra-Orthodox ritual known as metzizah b’ peh.

    Under the practice, the rabbi or mohel removes blood from the wound with his mouth — a practice city health officials have criticized, saying it carried “inherent risks” for babies.

    In 2004, three infants circumcised by Rabbi Yitzchok Fischer were determined to have contracted herpes, city officials said.

    Among them were twins circumcised in October 2004 after Fischer performed the religious ceremony known as a bris.

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