Encouraging Diseases For Your Kids – From Pox Parties To Bioterrorism Via Mail

Dear holy hades. They are apparently on Facebook, although the Facebook page I found (pictured) said that they were just about having kids attend parties and not about sending viruses through the mail. Mind, it’s not difficult for people to start up ‘private groups’ on this [UPDATE - just found one. About 155 people signed on, some identities clearly visible]

KPHO News, Phoenix:

Doctors and medical experts are concerned about a new trend taking place on Facebook. Parents are trading live viruses through the mail in order to infect their children.

The Facebook group is called “Find a Pox Party in Your Area.” According to the group’s page, it is geared toward “parents who want their children to obtain natural immunity for the chicken pox.”

On the page, parents post where they live and ask if anyone with a child who has the chicken pox would be willing to send saliva, infected lollipops or clothing through the mail.

Parents also use the page to set up play dates with children who currently have chicken pox.

It even gets worse. Could it get worse than chicken pox? Oh yes:

CBS 5 producers found others asking for more dangerous pathogens. Two people on the Facebook page were looking for measles, mumps, and rubella.

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About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide.
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science.

  • sailor1031

    Rubella? Do these lunatics have any idea how dangerous that is? In families where there are already young children it’s also highly likely there will be some mothers who are pregnant with another child. Isn’t this just reckless child endangerment – and with rubella, mumps and measles to boot it’s reckless adult endangerment too.

    I’m thinking that these ignorant, stupid parents were mostly vaccinated themselves during their childhoods? Having lived at a time when there weren’t vaccines for many of these disease I can say I wouldn’t wish any one of them on anyone – except Michele Bachmann of course!

    • Kylie Sturgess

      Imagine the postal workers. Remember anthrax in the post? Now it’s this. Damn.

  • Trebuchet

    This was common practice 50 years ago — when there wasn’t a vaccine for most of these diseases. My mother told me of hosting a chicken pox party when I had it. Polio parties, on the other hand, weren’t so popular — people were scared shitless. I was one of the first to get the Salk vaccine.

    Of course, thanks to my chicken pox I got the joy of shingles thirty years later. Worst thing I’ve ever had.

    Fifty years ago, having these parties made a little bit of sense. You could get it over with in the summer and not mess up the school year. Now? Idiotic!

    • Kylie Sturgess

      I contracted shingles back in 2006. Was terrified of giving it to students. Thankfully it hit me just as the school holidays started – two weeks of thinking ‘well, there’s one blessing out of this damned thing…’ :(

  • kraut

    Lets be consequent then and have parties for whooping cough, lets infect our children with tetanus to avoid any further use of those “unsafe” vaccines.
    What a bunch of morons.

  • Ms. Crazy Pants

    I hadn’t heard of parties for the other diseases, but before the Chicken Pox vaccine, it was an easy way to know when your kid would get sick and to get off work rather than be surprised by it. Not all employers allow time off for sick children. In fact, where I grew up you just weren’t allowed time off work unless you had a very, very good job. At one company, 3 times being late during the course of your entire employment was grounds for firing. Many people died driving too fast to try and get to work on time to not get fired. It didn’t matter if the roads were closed from snow or not. In an employment environment such as that, planning when the kid will get sick (because they’ll get sick anyway) makes all the difference.

  • jakc

    Didn’t know I had been circumcised until I was 18 or so – didn’t know what a foreskin was, didn’t remember any pain, still don’t care that it was done. But chickenpox and mumps? I remember a couple of awful weeks with those (still have a small chickenpox scar on my cheek) – and people on this thread remind me that I have shingles to look forward to. These parents are a-holes.

  • cathrynsmith

    This is horrible! I cannot understand this level of stupidity!

  • http://a-million-gods.blogspot.com/ Avicenna

    These used to be common in the 70s and 80s (according to my parents) who stated that before the vaccines came out it made more sense to have the disease while still young. Particularly since most of those diseases are majorly dangerous only if you are poor and starving…

    Back then it “made sense”. All of your kids getting the disease at the same time meant fewer working hours lost. Now it’s just really daft.

    I have had antivax try and defend the practice as providing superior immunity.

  • thztds

    If these idiots lived in the Middle Ages, they’d probably be planning bubonic plague parties.

  • Nomen Nescio

    as if chickenpox weren’t bad enough in itself. i had it, back before there was a vaccine, and i still remember it as a thoroughly miserable week of my life. i think some of the scars might still be there, too, and having to dread the shingles before one has even turned 40 isn’t much fun either. but measles? mumps?! these people are insane, and they’re going to get some kid killed.

  • eNeMeE

    Originally posted at Mike the Mad Biologist’s

    Dear pathogen mailing fuckers,

    Please stop. Or die.

    A transplant recipient

  • Aliasalpha

    Well transporting contagious substances through the mail should be in breach of not only bioterrorism laws but more importantly postal regulations!!

    It should also bring charges of child endangerment with secondary charges of being a fucking idiot

  • http://vmulligan.deviantart.com Vikram K. Mulligan

    I remember that pox parties were common when I was a child. At that time, they made sense: it was the most effective way of rendering children immune to the chicken pox at a time in their life when the virus would do the least amount of harm. In 2011, they make no sense: they unnecessarily perpetuate a disease that we can now eradicate, and put children at needless risk of developing shingles as adults.

    It’s very sad that the myths propagated by the anti-vaxxers are resulting in unnecessary risk-taking behaviour, and that children are bearing the brunt of the poor decisions being made by parents. It’s also sad that so many people are so bad at assessing risk. (Even if the myths were true, and there were marginal risks associated with vaccines, the claimed probabilities of negative consequences are still orders of magnitude lower than the risks of a disease that causes severe complications in 2% of children who contract it, and which remains resident, albeit hopefully dormant, for life).