A pox on all those lol­lipops

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS -

Out­liers grew up in an age when chicken pox meant spend­ing a week or two at home from school in a state of sus­tained pain and fever, tak­ing baths loaded with bak­ing soda and try­ing like crazy not to pick at those aw­ful sores that popped up on arms, legs and ba­si­cally ev­ery­where. Ugh. Still, we sur­vived. So what to make of the trend of par­ents de­lib­er­ately ex­pos­ing their kids to the virus in the be­lief that the body’s nat­u­ral re­ac­tion cre­ates a stronger im­mu­nity to the virus than the vac­cine re­leased in 1995?

Be­fore an­swer­ing, con­sider this new twist: Rather than just gath­er­ing kids at so-called “pox par­ties,” where they can in­fect one an­other, one mother in the Nashville area re­cently started ad­ver­tis­ing, via Face­book, that she would mail vac­cine-wary par­ents lol­lipops tainted with the virus from her kids. Or she would just mail the spit and cotton swabs if cus­tomers pre­ferred, ac­cord­ing to news ac­counts in National Pub­lic Ra­dio and the As­so­ci­ated Press.

The mother told re­porters that par­ents had in fact pur­chased these Pox Pops ($50), ap­par­ently un­aware of the fed­eral law against send­ing viruses through the U.S. mail, which was cited by ABC News.

“Can you imag­ine get­ting a pack­age in the mail from this com­plete stranger that you know from Face­book be­cause you joined a group, and say here, drink this pur­ported spit from some other kid?” said Jerry Martin, U.S. at­tor­ney in Nashville, ac­cord­ing to the As­so­ci­ated Press.

And for the record, be­tween 100 and 150 peo­ple a year died from chicken pox be­fore the vac­cine was avail­able, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion. In 2003-04, the CDC recorded eight deaths.

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