Health Officials Issue Warning About Flood of ‘Measles Parties’

Health Officials Issue Warning About Flood of ‘Measles Parties’

mslsprtsThe current paranoia sweeping the country over measles vaccines has led to an increase in alternative methods of dealing with the highly contagious respiratory disease. Some parents are reviving an old preventative method, exposing their children to other children who are infected. 

According to the California Report,

Measles parties and chicken pox parties are practices that developed in eras before vaccines for those diseases were available. Both viruses are known to cause greater, more dangerous complications in adults. So some parents would intentionally infect their kids when they were young to work through the illness in its milder form, then retain immunity.

“People did this with chicken pox all the time,” said Art Reingold, an epidemiology professor at UC Berkeley who worked at the Centers for Disease Control in the 1980s. “Parents would have kids lick a lollipop and give it to other kids, or mail it to other kids.”

The chicken pox vaccine was licensed for use in 1995; for measles in 1963. Today, some parents are still deliberately getting their kids sick because they don’t believe in vaccines.

“The basic notion is ‘this is my opportunity for my kid to get immune the old fashioned way, the way God intended,’” Reingold said. “’The way nature intended.’”

Pockets of the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and rural areas in the far north of the state have an unusually high number of parents who opt out of vaccinating their kids. Public health officials are worried about what might happen if parents take it upon themselves to infect their children with measles.

“It unnecessarily places the exposed children at potentially grave risk and could contribute to further spread of the outbreak,” the California Department of Public Health said in an email, adding that it “strongly recommends against the intentional exposure of children to measles.”

Considering how dangerous measles is, exposing yourself directly to it is not probably the best choice. Thirty percent of people who have come down with measles in the current California outbreak have been hospitalized. Some of them may die, lose their hearing or come down with pneumonia. Getting vaccinated has smaller risks. My husband developed an extreme light sensitivity after being given a measles vaccination as a child – but he still will not advise measles parties or always avoiding vaccines.

Rachel Alexander

Rachel Alexander is the editor of Intellectual Conservative. She is a senior editor at The Stream, and is a regular contributor to Townhall, the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research, and The Christian Post, and provides weekend news items for Right Wing News. She frequently appears on TV and news radio as a conservative commentator. She is a recovering attorney and former gun magazine editor. She previously served as a former Assistant Attorney General for the State of Arizona, corporate attorney for Go Daddy Software, and Special Assistant/Deputy County Attorney for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. As co-president of the UW Political Science Honor Society, she obtained degrees in Political Science and History from the University of Washington, followed by a law degree from Boston College and the University of Arizona. She was ranked by Right Wing News as one of the 50 Best Conservative Columnists from 2011-2017.

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