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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, 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.

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  • (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.