I sometimes really wonder about my fair state of California. Yes, I know we are a bit odd (fruits and nuts!)…but this really takes the cake!
Some parents in California are reportedly considering hosting “measles parties” — social gatherings where unvaccinated children can come into contact with infected kids — to build up their children’s natural resistance to the infectious disease.
Before the development of the chicken pox vaccine, this particular “natural infection” tactic used to be popular among parents who wanted to give their children the virus while they were still young and the infection would be less severe. Now, despite the fact that there’s a vaccine available to prevent that disease, the practice has persisted among some parents who are skeptical about following the government’s recommended immunization schedule.
The rise of social media has made it easier than ever before for parents to plan so-called “pox parties.” The Facebook group Let’s Have a Chickenpox Party, for instance, helps anti-vaccine parents connect with each other and publicize their pox-related events. In 2011, some adults even started mailing infected lollipops across state lines, something that violates federal law.
The idea has been floated for other diseases, too. When a serious strain of influenza colloquially known as “swine flu” started spreading in 2009, some people started suggesting holding swine flu parties for their kids. The idea was that surviving a milder strain of the virus earlier in the season would protect children from a deadlier strain that could emerge later.