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posted by martyb on Tuesday February 10 2015, @11:34PM   Printer-friendly
from the do-no-harm dept.

The Chicago Sun Times reports that in a disturbing California Bay Area trend, parents wary of vaccinating their kids are considering having their unvaccinated children attend measles parties with those who are infected. The idea is the same as a chicken pox party. Parents bring their children to these gatherings to get them sick once so they won’t have to deal with the virus again. Except, most cases of chicken pox aren’t deadly. Marin County Public Health Officer Matt Willis says that although his office has received no reports of such parties, officials have fielded several calls from parents asking about the benefits of "natural immunity," or the idea that immunity gained from contracting a disease is superior to immunity conferred through vaccination. Measles is a serious illness that can cause brain swelling, long-term neurological effects and even death, Willis says. Plus, he added, there is no evidence that immunity gained through becoming sick with measles is any better than vaccine-imparted immunity. "Any parents who are considering this, they should have a look at a child who’s really sick with measles, and I think they’d change their minds."

Willis and other health officials suspect the concept of a measles party may have grown out of "pox parties," which were popular in the 1980s, before the chickenpox vaccine was widely available. Some parents, reports said, even arranged to pay strangers for licked lollipops, saliva or other items from infected children. Willis says he still hears reports of “pox parties” occurring in Marin today, even though a chickenpox vaccine has been available for more than two decades. "It was not a good idea then, and it's still not a good idea," says Wilbert Mason.

 
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  • (Score: -1, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11 2015, @12:21AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11 2015, @12:21AM (#143378)

    forcing people isn't the answer. i don't have a problem with vaccines but i can understand why a lot of people are concerned. kids grew up just fine before vaccines. kids need to get out more and play with slimy bugs and get sick occasionally. if anything preventing kids natural immune systems from developing should be considered child abuse.

    vaccines aren't the be all and end all of healthcare. the reason why they are pushed by government is because the companies that make them have powerful political lobbies and contribute a lot of money to pac funds.

    dependency on drugs for survival isn't a good thing.

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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by ilPapa on Wednesday February 11 2015, @12:29AM

    by ilPapa (2366) on Wednesday February 11 2015, @12:29AM (#143379) Journal

    kids grew up just fine before vaccines.

    Sadly, no they did not.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poliomyelitis [wikipedia.org]

    --
    You are still welcome on my lawn.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by tangomargarine on Wednesday February 11 2015, @12:31AM

    by tangomargarine (667) on Wednesday February 11 2015, @12:31AM (#143380)

    kids grew up just fine before vaccines. kids need to get out more and play with slimy bugs and get sick occasionally. if anything preventing kids natural immune systems from developing should be considered child abuse.

    I get where you're coming from, but the problem with "if it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger" is that

    A) sometimes it kills you.
    B) sometimes it kills other people.

    --
    "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11 2015, @12:38AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11 2015, @12:38AM (#143385)

    Vaccines do not make a lot of money and are often one treatment for lifelong immunity. Lifelong immunity from a single treatment is not "dependency on drugs". Using drugs to survive is better than dying due to lack of drugs.

    • (Score: 0, Troll) by frz on Wednesday February 11 2015, @01:14AM

      by frz (4910) on Wednesday February 11 2015, @01:14AM (#143395)

      Want to support child abuse? Sign your kids up for a vaccine trial.
       
      Vaccines don't confer lifelong immunity for anything and I'd be surprised to see any major drug maker claiming such rubbish. Your argument disintegrates after that essential fact has been established. Vaccines are a huge money maker, from Tamiflu jabs eating up Great Britain's health budget for a fictitious flu [theguardian.com] to the rampant "unlicensed testing" (we used to call it "murder") of kids in Nigeria [allafrica.com] by Pfizer, crippling and murder of children by Glaxo-Smith-Kline in Argentina [buenosairesherald.com] at a cost of $90k, and forcibly injecting junk vaccines into kids in Chad [vactruth.com]. Shit like this doesn't do the vaxxer agenda any good, though nobody really gives a fiddler's fart about Africa these days.

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by frojack on Wednesday February 11 2015, @01:34AM

        by frojack (1554) on Wednesday February 11 2015, @01:34AM (#143403) Journal

        Vaccines for polio, mumps,, measles, rubella , yellow feaver, confer life-long immunity.
        There are several more which are suspected of life long immunity simply because they are too new to be sure or there are no re-infections known.

        http://infectiousdiseases.about.com/od/prevention/a/MMR_vaccine.htm [about.com]
        WHO recently added yellow fever to the list.
        http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2013/yellow_fever_20130517/en/ [who.int]

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      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11 2015, @06:26PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11 2015, @06:26PM (#143707)

        Tamiflu is an antiviral not a vaccine and H1N1 was not fiction.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11 2015, @09:07PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11 2015, @09:07PM (#143764)

          You cannot persuade with logic someone who arrived at a conclusion irrationally.

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11 2015, @09:04AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11 2015, @09:04AM (#143507)

      It does sort of cause dependency on drugs. If we didn't have vaccines, a considerable amount of people would die from the illnesses they protect against. The ones left alive would pass their 'stronger' immune system to their new babies. Eventually we'll become immune to them and they'll die out (or they'll mutate into a new disease). However since we're artificially tweaking the immune system soon after birth, the weaker kids live long enough to pass on their 'weaker' genes. Thus everyone will require the vaccines and thus the dependency on drugs.

      Same thing with poor vision. Kids with terrible vision probably wouldn't have made it to mating age in the wild. Now they have glasses and mate. So their kids need glasses. And eventually everyone needs glasses because there's no evolutionary pressure against it.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday February 11 2015, @03:20PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 11 2015, @03:20PM (#143607) Journal

        Eventually we'll become immune to them and they'll die out (or they'll mutate into a new disease).

        Well, since we haven't yet become immune to measles on our own, we already know how this will play out. Vaccines can also cause a disease to die out, such as smallpox.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by aXis on Wednesday February 11 2015, @12:43AM

    by aXis (2908) on Wednesday February 11 2015, @12:43AM (#143388)

    Wow, that's one of the stupidist things I've read all day.

    No, kids didnt grow up just fine before vaccines. Millions of kids suffered from illnesses that are now preventable, and hundreds of thousands of them died or were left with permanant life changing disabilities.

    Sure, maybe we are getting a bit over the top with cleanliness and getting a touch of gastro from eating out of the sandpit may have some long term benefit - but measles, mumps, rubella, polio and tetanus are not gastro and neeed to be treated seriously.

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11 2015, @04:23AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11 2015, @04:23AM (#143443)

      you need to get out a bit more.

      many places in the world don't have access to vaccines and kids grow up just fine. granted there are problems with things like polio and hiv, but getting your knickers in a twist because some kids in a first world country don't get their measles shots is the stupidest thing i've heard all day

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by aXis on Wednesday February 11 2015, @05:31AM

        by aXis (2908) on Wednesday February 11 2015, @05:31AM (#143467)

        You keep using the term "just fine" as though it's a trivial matter, but the facts speak differntly. From the Unicef website http://www.unicef.org/immunization/index_why.html [unicef.org]

        Measles, a viral respiratory infection, killed over 500,000 children in 2003, more than any other vaccine-preventable disease. The measles death toll in Africa is so high – every minute one child dies – that many mothers don't give children real names until they have survived the disease. Measles weakens the immune system and renders children very susceptible to fatal complications from diarrhoea, pneumonia and malnutrition. Those that survive may suffer blindness, deafness or brain damage.

        Tetanus, referred to in the Old Testament as the “seventh-day death,” killed an estimated 200,000 newborns and 30,000 mothers in 2001. The tetanus bacteria are ubiquitous – they live in soil, in animal dung and in feces. Tetanus can infect newborns if the umbilical cord is cut with unsterile instruments or the incision treated with contaminated dressings.

        Polio, a viral infection of the nervous system, can cause crippling paralysis within hours. Significant progress has been made towards eradicating the disease, but it remains a serious threat to children in areas where the wild poliovirus still circulates. The number of cases worldwide dropped from 350,000 in 1988 to under 1,300 in 2004

        Rotavirus, a pervasive wheel-shaped virus, is a leading cause of severe diarrhoea in infants and young children, particularly in the developing world. Currently, there is no vaccine approved for the disease, which kills 600,000 children under five each year.

        Yellow fever, a viral disease that occurs primarily in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America, kills 30,000 each year. The virus is transmitted most often through the bite of the female Aedes aegypti mosquito. Once controlled fairly well by widespread vaccination and mosquito control, the disease is making a comeback and outbreaks are becoming more frequent.

        Doesnt sound "fine" to me. Letting our vaccination rates drop below the levels required for herd immunity is dangerous and will lead to a large number of innocent poeple dying because of a small number of stupid parents.

        • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11 2015, @08:03AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11 2015, @08:03AM (#143493)

          You are talking about Africa - a third world continent where in many places malnutrition and starvation makes diseases that would otherwise be fought off by the immune system deadly, simply because fighting off a disease takes a lot of energy.

          I believe the article was talking about the USA, where energy is abundant, and most people have enough stored that they could fight off three diseases without eating anything - and still be overweight afterwards.

          (And if the article is really about Africa, forget about vaccinations. That's simply not available.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by sjames on Wednesday February 11 2015, @04:29AM

      by sjames (2882) on Wednesday February 11 2015, @04:29AM (#143447) Journal

      That's the issue. These parents have NO idea of the relative risks. The old pox parties made a certain amount of sense. At the time practically everyone was going to get chicken pox eventually and the risks are much smaller for a child than an adult. The term 'pox party' might have been coined in the '80s but the practice is much older.

      Measles carries much greater risks than chicken pox for a child and so the entire risk/benefit shifts. The best bet is the vaccine. Next best (if the vaccine cannot be given) is avoidance. Deliberate exposure is way down in the never do it range. It's about as goo an idea for health as pure all-natural hemlock.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11 2015, @11:44PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11 2015, @11:44PM (#143864)

        The term 'pox party' might have been coined in the '80s but the practice is much older.

        You're right. I remember when it was a 'pox social'.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 12 2015, @10:05AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 12 2015, @10:05AM (#144033)

          Hah! I remember when it was 'a pox on you!'.

  • (Score: 1) by Darth Turbogeek on Wednesday February 11 2015, @01:59AM

    by Darth Turbogeek (1073) on Wednesday February 11 2015, @01:59AM (#143410)

    Polio, Diptheria et all severely disagree with your assertions and are more than happy that they are being given a chance to come back.

    Small Pox is sad because it got eradicated in the wild in the 20th century and wont have the chance to kill millions all over again.

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11 2015, @04:29AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11 2015, @04:29AM (#143446)

      When they have generations of overprotected hosts pumped full of ineffective antibiotics, I'm not at all surprised. Did you honestly think existing vaccines were going to work forever?

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11 2015, @01:16PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11 2015, @01:16PM (#143552)

        You are aware that antibiotics and vaccines are completely different in about every relevant respect? No, you probably aren't, judging from your post.