Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner was evasive at a Jewish Press mayoral forum Wednesday night when a question arose regarding a controversial circumcision method practiced by some in the Orthodox Jewish community, Politicker reported.
The method, called metzitzah b'peh, involves a mohel—a person trained in the religious practice of circumcision—sucking the blood from the circumcision wound on the infant's genitals. The city's health department has in the past linked the practice to several neonatal cases of herpes. The most recent tally is 13 since 2000, including two infants who died and two who developed brain damage.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said that neonatal herpes infections can cause death or disability among infants, ABC News reported.
Of the six Democratic candidates for mayor, Erick Salgado, Bill de Blasio, and John Liu reportedly had no problem with the procedure and were vehemently opposed to the Bloomberg administration's instituting a requirement last year that parents must sign a consent form prior to their child being circumcised by this method.
Christine Quinn said she would keep the consent form requirement in place, and Sal Albanese expressed concern over the practice but ultimately disagrees with requiring a consent form.
According to New York Magazine's Daily Intel, Anthony Weiner "pretty much dodged the question entirely."
The question arose in part because of two recent cases of infections: in the last three months, two more babies were infected due to this procedure, according to the Department of Health. According to news reports, none of the parents of the two recently infected babies signed consent forms.
Fox News reported that after one week, one of the baby boys developed a fever and a lesion on his scrotum.
Jay Varma, the deputy commissioner for disease control at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene told ABC News it's "too early to tell" what the long-term effects will be on the infected babies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while the herpes simplex virus in question only results in cold sores in adults, neonatal herpes infections can result in death or disability among infants.
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