The risk for neonatal HSV-1 or untyped HSV infection following Jewish ritual circumcision with confirmed or probable direct orogenital suction [metzitzah b’peh] during April 2006–December 2011 in New York City was estimated to be 24.4 per 100,000, a risk 3.4 times greater than the risk for HSV-1 or untyped HSV infection among male infants unlikely to have had direct orogenital suction [metzitzah b’peh].
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control 's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report to be released at noon Eastern Daylight Time today has a paper on metzitzah b'peh (MBP), the direct oral to genital sucking done by the mohel to the baby's open, bleeding penis wound during brit milah, the circumcision ritual.
MBP is primarily a hasidic and right wing non-hasidic haredi practice today. The rest of Orthodoxy usually uses a sterile glass pipette or tube through which the mohel applies oral suction.
Some Modern Orthodox mohels use sterile guaze in place or oral suction, and this is the practice among many non-Orthodox mohels, as well.
MBP has been linked to Herpes Simplex 1 infections that caused at least two deaths of babies in NYC and at least two cases of permanent brain damage. At least 10 babies have been hospitalized with MBP-transmitted HSV-1 infections during the past decade or so, although evidence indicates the actual infection rate probably is much higher, and that cases are not reported to the Department of Health – sometimes by the order of haredi rabbis who warn parents that it is mesirah, a violation of the Jewish law forbidding informing on a fellow Jew to secular authorities. In Jewish law, mesirah is punishable with death.
Hasidic rabbis have adamantly refused to alter this dangerous practice. (You can see many articles about that here.)
The CDC's paper, Neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus Infection Following Jewish Ritual Circumcisions that Included Direct Orogenital Suction — New York City, 2000–2011, is four pages long with a fifth page of footnotes. Please click the pages to enlarge: