Saturday, August 29, 2015

Could Something Other Than Mohels Be Giving Herpes in Circumcisions? - News –

A former county health official claims he has identified a source for herpes infections in ultra-Orthodox baby boys — and it’s not metzitzah b’peh , the controversial ritual in which a mohel uses his lips to suction blood from the circumcision wound.

New York City health officials blame metzitzah b’peh, or MBP, for infecting 17 Jewish babies with herpes since 2000. Two of those babies died, and a further two suffered brain damage.

But E. Oscar Alleyne, the former director of epidemiology and public health planning for New York’s Rockland County Health Department, says that while MBP is a high-risk procedure, DNA investigations that he conducted show that it is not the sole explanation for such infections.

“We’ve been able to identify scientifically that [herpes infection] does occur from other point sources,” Alleyne said.

Alleyne said that by using DNA testing he was able to discount mohels as the source of two neonatal herpes infections in Rockland County in 2014. He said that epidemiological evidence points to a different source for the infections.

Alleyne, however, refused to share that source or his data. His work has not been peer-reviewed or accepted by a medical journal for publication, so his claims cannot be independently verified.
Even if Alleyne could provide convincing data to suggest an alternative source of infections, Zenilman said it did not change his assessment that MBP “is a risky practice in general and [that] epidemiological data support that.”
Zenilman added that it was unusual for an official to withhold results ahead of publication if they are of public health importance.

Alleyne said that because he has developed a working relationship with the region’s ultra-Orthodox communities, he has already given their leaders his recommendations to improve infection control practices.

Could Something Other Than Mohels Be Giving Herpes in Circumcisions? - News –

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