Ultra-orthodox Jews in New York keep giving their babies herpes.
Some ultra-orthodox Jewish communities, like the haredi in New York, practice metzitzah b'peh.
I wrote about metzitzah b'peh in September. It is a type of circumcision ritual in which the mohel places his mouth on the baby's penis to suck away the blood after cutting away the foreskin.
At the time, another case had just been identified earlier in the month. Now, three more cases since December have been reported.
A Health Department spokesperson stated, "Protecting the health and well-being of infants is always the city's first priority."
But this has been a problem for at least the last couple of decades and the Health Department in New York has continued to fail at protecting the health of babies in these Jewish communities. Between 2004 and 2011, at least 11 boys contracted herpes from this ritual. Two of the boys died, and two more suffered permanent brain damage.
While adults suffer only minor symptoms from herpes simplex virus type 1, it can wreak havoc with newborn babies. New York's government has had a terrible record in dealing with the problem, not wanting to "persecute" the religious freedom these parents have to kill or maim their children.
Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg had required a parental consent form prior to the rite, but the city eliminated that in 2015. They replaced it with just an educational brochure.
Yes, just an educational brochure. Great job protecting those babies!
The Health Department has tried to conduct outreach in Jewish communities, but it is clear that this is woefully inadequate.
Until the government steps up and intervenes to protect these children, Jewish newborns will continue to suffer life-altering injuries and, in some cases, even die.
The fact that this is still such a problem in the 21st century is appalling.