The virtual chicken pox party


Some parents, eager to “naturally” expose their children to chicken pox, have become very creative. They are asking for chicken pox laced lollipops from families who have already been exposed to the disease. A federal prosecutor has entered the scene warning parents against trading the diseased items and body fluids especially through the mail.

In the chicken pox parties of old, children who acquired the disease would host a party of neighborhood kids so that all of them could go through the disease together and be done with it. With the advent of the internet and Facebook, the parties exist now in a high tech world.

Still, it’s illegal and, while ingenious, a little stupid. “Sending a virus or disease through the US mail (and private carriers) is illegal. It doesn’t matter if it crosses state line,” said David Boling, public information officer for the Attorney in Nashville. “Also, it is against federal law to adulterate or tamper with consumer products, such as candy.” That second part may go too far since no one is representing the lollipop as being in its original state. As a matter of fact, it’s no longer a consumer product. It’s a gift. An illegal, infected gift, but still.

Epidemiologist Dr. Tim Jones also points out that these transactions can be lethal. There are people who cannot receive the vaccination for medical reasons, cancer patients for instance, whose health would be substantially compromised if they came in contact with the highly contagious disease.

The really ick part here is that parents could be exposing their kids to other things besides the chicken pox: hepatitis or influenza or worse. With the boxes being mailed anonymously, you’d never know. “There’s a bunch of things wrong with this,” said US Attorney Jerry Martin.

Source: Reuters


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