Mohels warn to get checked for herpes after babies infected

Two babies were hospitalized at Schneider Children's Hospital in Petach Tikva for being infected with herpes during circumcision, Kikar HaShabbat reports Wednesday night – and a prominent mohel has demanded that fellow mohels get checked for the disease before performing the ceremony. 

Mohel Rabbi Shlomo Mahfoud told the daily that mohels must "check themselves first for cold sores – anyone infected could infect the baby." 

"The mohel cannot circumcise until he knows he's free of infection," he added. "For a baby who contracted herpes, it is best to consult a doctor and undergo medical treatment by a certified professional." 

Mohel Rabbi Moshe Goldstein made similar statements, saying that the mohel must be tested.

However, Rabbi Moshe Dayan argued that there's "no scientific proof" the mohel could spread herpes to the infant," but added nonetheless that "if the baby is indeed infected with herpes simplex virus he must be brought in for medical treatment." 

Babies have died periodically from brit milah before, both in Israel and abroad, from the mitzitza be'peh ritual. 

In 2012, Orthodox Jewish groups brought a lawsuit against the city of New York for warning the public against this part of the circumcision ritual, after 11 boys died between 2004 and 2011. 


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