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Parents Expose Children to Chickenpox with Lollipops

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A strange offer appeared on Facebook recently for lollipops purposefully infected with the chickenpox virus. The ad read:

I have PayPal and plenty of spit and suckers. It works too because that’s how we got it! Our round was FedEx’d from Arizona. We’ve spread cooties to Cookeville, Knoxville and Louisiana!

Several parents against vaccinating their children quietly circulated the notice amongst themselves. Other parents on the message board posted want ads for additional items infected with chickenpox to expose their children to the illness without getting a vaccination. The parents also believe that by exposing their children "naturally" to the illness, they will help to build their child’s immunity.

So-called Pox parties are becoming increasingly popular, as parents against vaccinations look for other ways to expose their children to the common illness. However, health officials are warning parents that the practice is dangerous and misguided and that chickenpox can cause severe illness and even death. Before the vaccinations, they say, nearly 100 children a year were dying from chickenpox-related complications. Furthermore, law enforcement officials are starting to crack down on parents who order chickenpox-tainted items through the Internet. For example, the U.S. attorney in Nashville, TN recently stated that sending tainted items through the mail was a federal crime and punishable by up to 20 years in jail.

However, some parents are unphased–like Kari Campbell Soto, a healthcare worker who says she is very distrustful of vaccines after one of her children developed a neurological disorder as a child that she believes is related to a vaccination. Nevertheless, Dr. Walt Orenstein, associate director of the Emory Vaccine Center, says that parents should really be careful with lollipops, since whatever is in the mouth of the children sucking the lollipops would also end up on the candy and could cause serious harm to other children.

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  1. Andrew says:
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    It is strange that only a few years ago Chicken Pox was considered a very mild and benign childhood disease that one contracted offered life long immunity. Now we have a vaccine for it, its major news along with all social conditioning to sell the vaccine. I so glad my children had it all the same time so have immunity for life rather than rely on the short lived protection of the vaccine meanining unless they have booster for life they are at risk of contracing when adults when it is more serious.