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Want a lollypop with free chickenpox virus?

Posted Nov 05 2011 10:14pm

No, there isn’t some company which has some manufacturing contamination infecting kids. Instead, this is a response by people who want to set up “chickenpox parties” but can’t. The vaccine has been rather successful, you see, and one can’t find neighborhood kids sick with chickenpox. So, via the magic of the internet, parents are striking the deal and sending lollypops (and other items) which are only slightly “used” by their chickenpox infected children.

Yes, sick kids are slobbering on candy and their parents are sending them to other parents.

I’m a little late to this pox-party, so here’s some full discussions:

Emily at The Biology files as The antivax women who mail pox: Who are they?

Mike the Mad Biologist in ‘Pox Parties’ and Bioterrorism

Aitiology and Chickenpox parties—just a Facebook friend away

ToddW (Hapocrates Speaks) in Pox by Post .

Besides being strange, and a bad idea, it’s also illegal to ship infectious material through the mail. The same people who complain that vaccines are “biological wastes” if disposed of have no problems sending infectious agents in the post.

It doesn’t stop with chicken pox. Measles, mumps, rubella.

Remember the “why do we vaccinate children against hepatitis B? Kids are sexually active or using needles.” Well, how about sharing lollipops with an infected kid? HepB is blood borne. Unlike HIV, HepB can live outside the body for a considerable time. But, hey, so what if a kid gets an extra infection or two from a stranger’s lollipop? It’s natural immunity, right?

Another question: when do the parents who have subjected their kids to “pox parties” or the slobber of random strangers through the mail, when do these people quarantine their children?

There’s a lot of uncertainty as to when a child will be contagious after exposure .

When Is a Person Contagious?
A person with chickenpox is contagious 1-2 days before the rash appears and until all blisters have formed scabs.

It takes between 10 and 21 days after contact with an infected person for someone to develop chickenpox.

So, somewhere between 8 and 20 days after exposure, the child will be contagious. And a danger to other children and people with compromised immune systems.

Unless these parents quarantine their children starting from 8 days after exposure, they are “inviting” everyone they meet to a special “pox party”. Nice, huh?

  1. sharon:
    I hope departments world wide will put out alerts to warn parents about how terribly dangerous, and illegal, this practice is. It seems to me such a powerful example of how ignorant anti vaxers are about disease/immunology etc.
  2. _Arthur:
    Just imagine the lawsuits if a kid dies, or a foetus is affected and is born crippled by the disease... Boggles the mind.
  3. daedalus2u:
    Arthur, if only a few people are injured, the various participants in the pox parties may have enough assets to satisfy the judgments against them. Certainly each participant in the disease transmission chain is liable for what ever damage their participation in that crime caused. Since anti-vax zealots tend to be better off, maybe they will have assets to cover the damages. If the lawyers can involve some of the players with deep pockets, Jenny McArthy, the anti-vax lawyers, the “leaders” of the anti-vax movements, a few DAN! doctors, then there should be enough money provided there is no large scale epidemic. I suspect that Fedex is working right now trying to identify who sent what and when, and what they need to do about it, and working up lawsuits to cover their costs in doing so. I think that Fedex would do well to vaccinate its staff who might have been exposed and charge the costs of the vaccines, medical care, lost time and so on to those who forced them to do it.
  4. Saraquill:
    This is obscene. I hope those people get arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Rubella? Really? I guess those people on Facebook don't care how many miscarriages or severe disabilities they inflict on the unknowing.

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