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Chicken pox, vaccines and mom as bioterrorist

chicken poxlollipopmailpartyvaccinevirus

Chicken pox

With so many parents realizing they can save their children the suffering of chicken pox with vaccination, it can be tough to find a fun "chicken pox party," the gatherings at which healthy young children mingle with actively sick ones in order to get their immunity the old-fashioned way. So for awhile -- until authorities got wind of it -- parents were linking up on Facebook, with at least one parent offering to send chicken pox via mail on lollipops that had been licked by an infected child -- or even by sending spit.

Aside from the grossness factor, it's illegal to mail viruses. Remember all those anthrax scares, people? Not to mention that Facebook isn't necessarily the way to meet people who are guaranteed to send tame chicken pox germs. Intentionally or not, there could be a lot more -- and a lot worse -- microbes on that candy.

If there's any upside to all this, it's that mailing chicken pox on lollipops or wrapped up in plastic is not an effective way to spread the scar-inducing illness. Experts say that too much of the virus would probably die before it could reach its intended victim.

When it comes to the intentional spread of chicken pox, lollipops aren't the only suckers.


More than 1 in 10 parents may not use recommended vaccine schedule

Vaccine-safety report should reassure doctors and parents, experts say

Younger doctors not as pro-vaccine as older docs

--Karin Klein

Photo: Are you scared enough of vaccines to give your kid a lollipop that's supposedly been licked by another child with chicken pox? Some people are trying this. It's not a good idea. Credit: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times



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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.

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