Nurse Under Investigation for Hosting Chickenpox Party

Nurse Under Investigation for Hosting Chickenpox Party October 21, 2018

 

Growing up as a child of the 1980s, kids, like me, did not have the luxury of receiving a vaccine for chickenpox. Because chickenpox is often less severe in children and deadly in adults, mothers arranged chickenpox parties to spread the disease from one infected child to another. In 1995, the varicella vaccine for chickenpox became available for children. Since the introduction of the vaccine, I would assume that chickenpox parties are a thing of the past. However, chickenpox parties are alive and well. Earlier this week a nurse shared on a large anti-vaccine Facebook page offering to share the virus with other unvaccinated children. Now the mother, a registered nurse, is under investigation by the state nursing board for her party proposal.

The posts started earlier this week. A mother in Boulder, Colorado posted an update to a Facebook group Stop Mandatory Vaccination. Stop Mandatory Vaccination is a large Facebook group with over 145,000 members.

Despite the overall size of the group, the mother invited anyone in the Boulder area to come to her home. The woman’s adolescent son had an active chickenpox infection. She offered exposure to the disease and lifelong immunity to chickenpox.

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While exposure to chickenpox may give a child lifelong immunity to chickenpox, the virus does remain in their bodies. Varicella, the virus causing chickenpox, can cause shingles to anyone that has previously had chickenpox. A child that gets chickenpox is at risk of developing shingles later in life.

Thankfully, there are vaccines for both chickenpox and shingles. However, the anti-vaccine community refuses these vaccines and instead they share the viruses.

 

After the mother shared the update to the group, the mother received messages from many in the group to attend the chickenpox party. Shortly after her first update, she posted more details about to the group.

Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All

According to the woman, her husband developed the shingles virus in September. Then her seven-year-old son came down with chickenpox. Next, the virus spread to her 17-year-old son.

The mother indicated her 7-year-old son’s recovered from the virus. However, her 17-year-old still had active blisters and appeared contagious for the disease. She said he felt weird about sharing the virus, but the mother invited people over to the house.

 

The Centers for Disease Control do not recommend chickenpox parties. On CDC website they say:

Chickenpox parties” have been held to intentionally expose a child with chickenpox to other children in hopes that they will get the disease. Chickenpox can be serious, especially for infants and even for some children. So, it is not worth taking the chance of exposing them to chickenpox. The best way to protect infants and children against chickenpox is to get them vaccinated. Read more about the chickenpox vaccine.

Pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems, who are not protected against chickenpox and cannot be vaccinated, are more likely to get a serious case of chickenpox. They should stay away from people with chickenpox and should not go to chickenpox parties.

Throughout the exchanges in the group, the mother told the group she was a registered nurse. Despite nurses being responsible for vaccine education for patients, she does not believe in vaccinations for her family.

Shortly after she posted the timeline for accepting visitors, the woman updated the group that she is under investigation by the Colorado RN board. She told the group her license is current and she needs to respond.

Anti-vaccine nurses are nothing new. We reported last in August about an anti-vaccine nurse in Texas. The nurse in Texas disclosed on an anti-vaccine page she treated a child with measles at a local Children’s hospital. In the group, she threatened to swab the child and bring home the measles to her unvaccinated teenage son.

Outraged people around the country reported the nurse to the hospital. Following an investigation into the nurse’s activities, the hospital determined the nurse violated HIPAA violations. Due to the HIPAA violations by the nurse to the group, the hospital fired the nurse.

The nurse in Texas threatened to cause a public outbreak of the measles. In Colorado, the nurse offered, willingly, to spread the virus and create a chickenpox outbreak in Boulder. Our sources let us know they were responsible for reporting the woman to the Colorado Regulatory Agency. Sources provided us with a copy of the complaint response from the Colorado Regulatory Agency.

In the letter to our source, the agency said,

“The Colorado Board of Nursing has received your complaint concerning the above name licensee (redacted). A case has been opened based on the information you filed. Your complaint will be reviewed for violation of the Board’s statutes, rules, and regulations. The Board has jurisdiction to take disciplinary action only if the Board ultimately finds that the individual violated the Board’s Statutes and/or rules and regulations.

Please be aware the matter can take several months to resolve, but also be assured that you will be notified in writing the outcome of the complaint.”

For now, the pro-vaccine advocates, working to stop the spread of preventable diseases, have stopped another harmful nurse. In speaking with my sources, they are not sure if the nurse spread the virus via the chickenpox parties. However, they are confident the complaint stopped the nurse from inviting any other people into her home.

Chickenpox is a preventable virus when a child is adequately vaccinated. According to the CDC, before the vaccine was available 4 million Americans contracted chickenpox each year. 10,5000 people required hospitalization, and 100-150 died from the virus each year.

A nationwide study completed between 2015-2017 indicated that only 1039 cases were reported of chickenpox. 713 of the cases of chickenpox were in children not vaccinated for the virus. Vaccinated patients for chickenpox had milder forms of the virus and required no hospitalizations. The only children hospitalized for chickenpox did not receive the vaccination.

The facts are that the vaccine for chickenpox works. There is no need for anyone to have a chickenpox party. Get your child vaccinated and let the chickenpox parties stay in the 1980s where they belong.

 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Lizard

    I’m 24 and was religiously vaccinated by my parents growing up, so I never had any of these preventable diseases as a kid. To me, it’s appalling to hear kids my age, who had the vaccine available to them as children, saying things like “Yeah, I had chickenpox, it wasn’t that bad.” I just want to yell at them “Do you know that it was possible for you NEVER to have had to have it at all?!

  • Jennifer Vapes

    Just a heads up, not to be rude, it’s HIPAA not HIPPA.

  • anxionnat

    When my nephew was about two (back in the early 1990s), we were on our way to a pre-school reading group at the local library. Having some extra time, we stopped to run on the beach for a few minutes. There we met a woman and her kid (about five years old). The woman told me proudly that her kid had chicken pox and that she had brought the child down to the beach so he could infect other kids! My nephew had had all of his vaccinations, but we left and went to the library. What the woman didn’t tell us was that she was bringing her (obviously sick and feverish) kid to the same reading group, and that she wanted to have all the kids there exposed! As soon as I saw her walk into the room, I went to the children’s librarian in charge and blew the whistle. This imbecile had the *gall* to claim that it “would be healthy” for other kids to be exposed. The librarian, without apology, banished this woman from the library for the next year. As the mother and kid were being ejected, the librarian called to the woman to take her kid to the hospital, because he looked *really* sick. What planet are these idiots living on? Several years later my niece’s private school had an epidemic of whooping cough, for which there has long been a vaccine. My niece (unvaccinated, and sent to that private school because her mom didn’t want to vaccinate the child, which is required in public schools in our state) and about 20 kids at the school ended up in the hospital. The school closed for about 6 weeks. None of the kids died, but many of them spent weeks in the hospital. I imagine if any of the kids had died, the school would’ve had hell to pay, at least. And, yes, I experienced all of the “childhood diseases”. None of them were fun. I haven’t had shingles yet, but my mom had shingles when she was in her mid-80s, and suffered for a month or more.

  • Tuna

    Child of the 70s here. I had mumps and chicken pox when I was small and measles when I was a teen. The mumps and chicken pox were horribly uncomfortable, and I was at risk for encephalitis, pneumonia and ear and eye problems. Measles damn near killed me. It took me so long to recover. I didn’t want my kids to go through all that, so they were vaccinated.

  • Rann

    I am older, so yes, I had chickenpox as a child – almost 2 weeks. I’ve had several of my collection of friends come down with shingles……… a very VERY nasty disease that can recur, no less. One of them recovered after over a year of hellish problems from the disease….

    These idiots who insist on infecting the innocent are sadists in disguise!!!

    PS: I get the shingles vaccine for free in a few more months…… I can’t wait!!!

  • WallofSleep

    “Growing up as a child of the 1980s, kids, like me, did not have the luxury of receiving a vaccine for chickenpox.”

    Same here. I finally got chicken pox when I was 16. I had it everywhere you could think of, including my esophagus. The case was so severe the doctors were certain I would either die or suffer brain damage. I guess we all know which way that went. 😛

  • WallofSleep

    My lord, the arrogant stupidity of that woman.

  • I had chicken pox at 9 years old. I had them on my feet that I could not even walk. It was terrible.

  • Nomad

    A nationwide study completed between 2015-2017 indicated that only 1039 cases were reported of chickenpox.

    That’s remarkable, I had no idea it had been stopped this well by the vaccine. I assumed it was still fairly common, so I was a bit taken aback by the talk of this behavior risking a chickenpox outbreak.

    Goddamn. A nurse trying to cause an outbreak of a well controlled disease. It boggles the mind.

  • I didn’t either. But I realized I never, ever hear about kids getting the virus anymore. My son is 6 and I don’t know any kids that get the virus anymore.

  • WallofSleep

    It’s criminal.

  • Boomer here. As a kid I had chicken pox, mumps, measles and German measles (rubeola and rubella) and every flu that went around.

    I remember as a kindergartener receiving the new polio vaccine – all the kids in school were taken out of class and vaccinated. It was a big deal for the adults, and so made an impression on me. I grew up with kids who didn’t get it in time – they had legs in braces, or a withered arm. Some of them had siblings that had died or could never leave the hospital.

    Not getting your own kids vaccinated is child abuse. Exposing other people’s kids? Might as well kidnap them and beat them to drive the demons out. Some kids have compromised immune systems, or relatives that do, and sometimes a particular vaccine just isn’t as effective as we would like. A medical professional that rejects mainstream medical science and puts kids in known danger needs to have his or her license revoked immediately after confirming the accusation.

  • Michael Neville

    I’m 70 and had chicken pox as a child. I’ve had the shingles vaccine because my father had shingles when he was in his 70s and it was extremely painful for him.

  • Michael Neville

    I was in 3rd grade when the Salk polio vaccine became available. Receiving the vaccine was voluntary but all of our parents volunteered us because they all knew polio victims.

  • Miss_Beara

    You can get it on your esophagus?! WHAT?!

  • ildi

    Not just that…

    The most common complication is postherpetic neuralgia, which is persistent neuropathic pain after the eruption is healed and usually occurs in about 3 to 4 weeks. Most clinicians, by definition, label postherpetic neuralgia as persistent pain at six weeks beyond the acute phase of the disease. The percentage of patients who will develop postherpetic neuralgia increases with the age of the patient and one study quoted 50% at age 50, 60% at age 60 and 70% at age 70, etc. The duration of postherpetic neuralgia may be months to years and the pain may be mild to excruciating to the point of placing patients at risk for suicide. Postherpetic neuralgia is the most common cause of suicide in patients with chronic pain over the age of 70 (emphasis mine) in the United States and Western Europe.
    https://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/acute-herpes-zoster-neuritis-postherpetic-neuralgia

  • Miss_Beara

    We had our own kind of chicken pox party. It was called 2nd grade 1992. I was 8 and it swept through my class. I didn’t get it too bad but I was still out for 2 weeks.

    My mom had shingles. She caught it fast had no lasting effects luckily.

  • Wan Kun Sandy

    Did she know that vaccine is a weakened virus that is injected in the body, so that the body can develop immunity on its own and eventually win since the virus is already weakened? The virus also stays in the body, but the body can deal with it easily because the virus is weak, thus providing immunity (providing the antibody to fight the virus – the antigen), and when an actual, normal variant of the virus invades, the body is ready to fight because it already knows how to fight the virus (having the antibody needed to fight the virus/antigen).

    Vaccine is essentially also “sharing the virus”, but in a much less virulent form and weakened than its normal counterpart. It’s so much better to vaccinate (sharing the less virulent and weakened virus) rather than sharing the normal, more dangerous virus.

    Ironically, she is a “nurse”. A nurse should’ve known better. I wonder whether she was asleep during body immunity or virus/microbiology class.

  • Qosanchia

    My little sister had it down her throat, and couldn’t really swallow. My case wasn’t too bad, so my parents weren’t super worried when my sister contracted it (this would have been around 1990) but after her infection, they were quickly disabused of the idea of “chicken pox parties” as anything but disaster waiting to strike

  • Nomad

    I guess that’s the thing. I know nobody with kids, I don’t get the list of mishaps that have befallen various people’s children. So without any real contact I just assumed that childhood stayed pretty much the same, despite that obviously being impossible.

  • Pennybird

    Your last point was what I was thinking when I read the article. It’s disturbing in the extreme to think that a nurse would hold those dangerous views. She should know better.

    And of those who knowingly expose other people’s children? That’s assault.

  • Pennybird

    Both my adult children were born after the vaccine was available and both received it on schedule. I am not aware of anyone at their schools who had chicken pox.

  • Pennybird

    A girl I knew when I was little in the 1960s became permanently deaf because of measles. Diseases like these don’t just cause temporary discomfort then leave forever. There’s a reason there are vaccines for them. Nurses know that.

  • WallofSleep

    Yep, and from there it can spread to your lungs, but in my case it didn’t. I can still see the faint trace of a pock mark on my little soldier, though.

  • anxionnat

    My brother, who is blind and developmentally disabled, had chicken pox along with the rest of our family, in the 1960s. My mom tried to stop him from scratching, and eventually put socks on his hands and feet, and tied him to his bed. This was to prevent him from wandering around sick. He still has scars on his face. I was not mentally disabled, but still have a scar between my eyebrows as a result of the disease. My mom knew a woman in teachers’ college (this would have been in the mid-1930s) who had scars from smallpox all over her face. The vaccine was available, but the friend’s parents decided not to vaccinate her–leaving the child to almost die! That’s the reality–these disease KILL people.

  • swbarnes2

    Some day in the future, we’ll use nanobots or something to cure infectious disease, and the crunchy crowd will insist on shunning those in favor of vaccines, because “vaccines harness your body’s natural disease-fighting abilities”

  • Clancy

    My daughter is 30. When she was a child, the chicken pox vaccine had just become available, it was not recommended because chicken pox is rarely fatal. So instead, she got chicken pox, and also got shingles twice, as a child.

  • Ugh, that sucks! Shingles is awful. My husband had it 10 years ago. He was miserable

  • persephone

    All it takes to get an RN is an associate’s degree. Depending on the state, there may be additional training required over time.

    Personally, any time I have to deal with new medical personnel, I am stressed. There are too many people with letters after their names that they think stand for “All-Knowing and Omnipotent.”

    I have multiple immune disorders because the doctors and nurses and physical therapists ignored my complaints for decades. Multiple times I have developed bronchitis when using a steroid inhaler. I had an urgent care doctor tell me that that was impossible. My rheumatologist and immunologist took me off the inhaler immediately and put me on one that’s a combination of two non-steroidal drugs. Medical personnel saying that something is impossible is how many patients end up dead.

  • FallsAngel

    Yes. That’s when my kids got it too. There was no real need for chickenpox parties, and my kids were never invited to one, nor do I know anyone who hosted one. I think they’re mostly an urban legend, but the younger generation has heard about them (through urban legendry) and thinks they were quite common.

  • FallsAngel

    And problematically for your nephew, there was no chickenpox vaccine in this country until 1995.

  • FallsAngel

    ” When she was a child, the chicken pox vaccine had just become
    available, it was not recommended because chicken pox is rarely fatal.”

    That is not quite true. The vaccine came out in 1995, when your daughter would have been 7. Lots of health care providers, including doctors, were not on board at first with the vaccine and said stuff like that. However, the sad death of a child at Colorado Children’s Hospital got most of the docs in the metro Denver area to recommend it.

  • GraceAlexander

    I grew up in an antivaxx cult (a literal cult, not exaggerating). Almost lost two siblings to Whooping Cough. Measles, German measles, chicken pox running rampant, teenage pregnant girls getting ill and babies born with defects. My kids are vaxxed to the hilt and my wife has had to physically restrain me from going across a table at some asshole who said my son was probably autistic due to my shooting him up with “poison”.

  • Pennybird

    My cousin invited an infected kid over to play with hers at a time it would have been convenient for her kids to get it. I guess if you knew it would be inevitable, then working it into your schedule was a pretty rational decision.

  • FallsAngel

    Let’s not put down nurses, K? It’s true that in every state the minimum educational requirement to take the NCLEX (RN exam) is an associate’s degree. About 50% of RNs have an associate’s, the rest have BSN or higher. In any event, an RN of any educational level should understand how baccines work. Doctors have an MD and PTs have a Doctorate in Physical Therapy, and according to you served your needs no better.

  • john tucci

    Actually Falls, here in OZ I do remember as a youngster, people did hold chickenpox partys and measles parties, and no, I did not attend them, actually my second (current ) wife told me she took both of her sons to a chickenpox party, and by the way, she does know better now.

  • FallsAngel

    Yes, I understand there were some parties. I just think their existence is way over-exaggerated by anti-vaxers. The only article I could ever find about such disease parties was about measles parties, written by an LA Time reporter, about such parties in Canada. IOW, no first hand experience.

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jonathan-d-moreno/will-measles-parties-retu_b_14479732.html

  • FallsAngel

    Except it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes the child who is exposed doesn’t get the disease anyway. Sometimes two kids get exposed and one gets the disease and one gets it later from the sib. Etc.

  • Pennybird

    Good thing we’ve got the vaccine now so no one has to get it.

  • FallsAngel

    Some will still get it but yes.

  • tomonthebay

    Hang in there. Quick prayer on your way.

  • Mike Stevens

    My best wishes are with you both.

  • FallsAngel

    Thank you. We’re currently awaiting results of the latest bone marrow biopsy, done yesterday.

    ETA: DH just called (4:38 PM MDT). Bone marrow biopsy showed good response to phase I of chemo. Phase II will start tomorrow!

  • Mike Stevens

    Varicella causes not only an “exanthem” (lesions on the outside, ie the skin), but will cause an “enanthem” (lesions internally on surfaces like the mouth and throat, and occasionally in the gullet, intestines, trachea, bronchi and lungs).

    These scars can calcify in the lungs, remaining visible for life on an Xray. It can look like a snow storm. Here is a (mild) example:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0c52b24ffff48474ecf9b6ed57d5a95e9a7a4822d5e98e070f46fbaa1e2bf07a.jpg

  • FallsAngel

    My daughter got them in her v*g*na.

  • Mike Stevens

    Very encouraging!

  • Mike Stevens

    Nasty.

  • that poor baby!

  • john tucci

    I hope for the best.

  • FallsAngel

    Thanks, John. It means a lot to me.

  • persephone

    I’m not running down all nurses, but I am pointing out that someone with an associate’s degree, which I imagine many of the anti-vaxxer types are, is not the best person to instruct people on their medical decisions.

  • FallsAngel

    I’m not running down all nurses

    Right! Your statement: “All it takes to get an RN is an associate’s degree.”

    And what’s with your assumption? The anti-vaxers like to tell us time and again that anti-vaccine parents have more education. While that may be no more true than your assumption, education level doesn’t seem to have anything to do with anti-vaccine views. Look at RFK, Jr.

  • tomonthebay

    Hope you get more good news.

  • persephone

    It would seem that the person who would continue their education with additional degrees is less likely to be a denier of a basic scientific finding. Denying something as basic as vaccines as a benefit to humanity indicates someone who is settled and happy with their ignorance in a Dunning-Kruger situation, someone willing to buy into fake news and facebook posts.

    While many anti-vaxxer parents may have college degrees, this does not necessarily indicate a greater intelligence or knowledge. I work with people with advanced degrees and those people can still fail out of careers, despite ivy league sheepskins, and high IQs

  • FallsAngel

    You’re talking out of both sides of your mouth, persephone.

  • FallsAngel

    Why do you keep digging yourself in further, persephone? You don’t know much (dare I say anything?) about nursing education. The two courses of study that prepare a person to take the NCLEX exam to become an RN are the AAS (Associate in Applied Science) in Nursing or the BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing). A few people do a direct-entry master’s program as well.

    As far as flu vaccine uptake among health care providers:
    “Overall, vaccination coverage in 2017–18 was higher among physicians (96.1%), pharmacists (92.2%), nurses (90.5%), and nurse practitioners and physician assistants (87.8%), and lower among other clinical health care personnel (80.9%), assistants and aides (71.1%), and nonclinical
    health care personnel (72.8%) (Figure 2).”

    https://www. cdc. gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6738a2. htm

  • FA, dude, chill. Persephone is relating her experiences, not slagging on you personally.

  • Chicken pox is freakin’ terrible.

    My memory of having it is exceedingly hazy — I was young, and fevers do funny things to my head — but I do remember being absolutely miserable. The following pneumonia wasn’t all that great, either.

    You’re so lucky you had the vaccine.

  • FallsAngel

    I’m not a dude, and persephone is a big girl and can speak for herself.

  • You were attacking her for no reason.

  • FallsAngel

    I didn’t attack her. And no reason? She implied nurses lack education not once but THREE times!

  • Yes you did, for NO reason beyond your own imaginings, and no she didn’t. She said that this specific nurse lacked education. And, in comparison to, say, DOCTORS, yes, nurses DO lack education. Learn to read for context, please.

  • PS: logging out and upvoting your own comments is really, really pathetic.

  • FallsAngel

    What the f are you accusing me of? I did no such thing! Whose sockie are you?

  • Mike Stevens

    So don’t do it.

  • Not a sockpuppet, but clearly you have one.

  • I’m not. A certain other poster who can’t read is.

  • Anion

    Sorry, I know this is old, but I had to comment. I had that, too, when I had chickenpox as a child in the 70s. I have never heard of another person who had them that way/there like I did.

    I also had one right on my lashline (on my eyelid), which caused me to have to literally pry my eye open every morning until it finally healed.

  • Anion

    They don’t vaccinate for chicken pox in the UK, where we lived for much of our daughters’ childhoods. (Our older daughter had the vac before we left the US; our younger was not old enough.) The result of that was, our younger daughter spent her third birthday miserable and covered in pox. It only lasted a couple of days (thankfully; it was very mild for her) with no after effects, but to this day I am furious, absolutely furious, that she spent ANY days suffering from a preventable illness because the NHS would rather see kids suffer and possibly die than shell out a few taxpayer pounds for prevention. I sat there watching her suffer and wondering what kind of effing sadist thinks this is okay; what kind of effing sadist is happy to watch a child suffer like that because it’s “no big deal.”

    And I still wonder that whenever I think of it, or when I look back at the pictures of her blowing out her candles with her face covered in spots. The thought of anyone intentionally doing that to their child? That’s abuse, and every single one of them ought to be thrown in jail. They intentionally inflicted suffering on their child. They make me sick. I hope this nurse loses her license. She is a sadist and a menace, and she should be ashamed of herself.