Israel: A dodgy-sounding variation on the circumcision ritual increases the risk of genital herpes according to a new study. Eight cases have been recorded, including one where a baby suffered brain damage and seizures as a result. The research was conducted by a team at Ben Gurion University led by the appropriately-named Benjamin Gesundheit, MD.
According to Jewish custom and traditions, newborn Jewish boys are ritually circumcised at eight days of age, and complications are generally very rare.
However, a small number of Orthodox rabbis advocate an ancient practice in which the circumciser sucks the blood from the infant's circumcision wound until the bleeding stops, a ritual known as metzitzah.
Researchers say the vast majority of ritual circumcisions are currently performed with a sterile suctioning device and not oral suction by the mohel.
The Chief Rabbinate of Israel has since announced that using a mechanical suction device is perfectly acceptable.
Rare Circumcision Ritual Carries Herpes Risk - WebMD Medical News, 2nd August 2004.