Thursday, December 1, 2011

Of Viruses, Vaccinations and Veracity

This story must be relegated to the “What are –they thinking?” file.

According to a recent Associated Press news story, some anti-vaccination parents in Arizona and Tennessee are trying to increase their children’s immunity to chickenpox in an unconventional way. They are buying lollipops that have purportedly been licked by children who have chickenpox, and the parents are obtaining these contaminated candies through online connections.

According to the story, one Nashville woman is offering on her Facebook page a “fresh batch of pox” via “suckers, spit and Q-tips.” She claims that her children, who have chickenpox, have licked the candy, and for this, she charges $50. (Customers can pay using PayPal. The mother is quoted as saying that the $50 is necessary to cover the cost of postage.)

Experts in pediatric infectious diseases say that the odds that the candy and other items will transmit the virus are low. It takes a very high viral load and a very short delivery time to assure the survival of the virus -- not to mention that the chickenpox virus must be inhaled to be transmitted.

Television news stations in Arizona and Tennessee report that some parents are even looking for pathogens that cause measles, mumps and rubella to which they can expose their children. The reason: to avoid school vaccination requirements. The stations also report that parents “have turned to a Facebook group called ‘Find a Pox Party in Your Area’” to match buyers and sellers, and that some parents schedule play dates with children who have chickenpox.

According to federal authorities, it’s a crime to send any virus across state lines, regardless of the method of delivery.

What do you think about such activity – either from sellers or buyers? And what would you tell them if you had the chance?

I would set the parents straight on the facts, but I’m not sure that they would listen or believe me. People who go to such extremes are probably not open to facts or others’ opinions, but at the very least, it’s important that they understand that buying and selling viruses (effective or not) is not only foolish, it’s illegal.

It’s also frightening.


Anonymous said...

Nice to know! Your info is not only a bit shocking, but frightening.
thanks for the info.

Anonymous said...

Here in Arizona, most of anti immunization crowd comes from the home schooling groups and religious fundamentalists who are staunchly anti government on just about every level.

IMHO, the option not to immunize should be prohibited as a public safety measure.

Religious perspective goes just so what point does religious exercise fall into the criminal range, for instance, refusing a very sick child modern medicine based upon a religious belief that prayer only will heal the child.

Anonymous said...

My children are vaccinated, but my oldest son has Aspergers, I believe from his babyhood vaccines, back in the day when they didnt realize the preservative was toxic. Now, even as a nurse I refuse to get any vaccines. Who knows whats in them? I dont like the idea of having myself injected with some government swayed, vaccine.