Fridays are usually a bad time for blogging for me, but it’s a choice, not due to any circumstances. Usually, on Friday nights, I consciously make an effort to stay away from the computer and the blog. Frequently, I’m tired, and not infrequently I’ll crash on the couch, only to wake up after midnight and wander upstairs to bed. Consequently, when something happens on Friday afternoon or evening, I often don’t find out about it until Saturday morning, which means I probably won’t blog about it before Monday because I’ve intentionally been trying not to post anything on the weekends. As hard as it is to believe, I have cut back some.

My evolving blogging habits aside, occasionally something happens that’s so bizarre, that enrages me so much that I can’t wait until Monday and I don’t care if I’m late to the party after Tara, Mike the Mad Biologist, The Biology Files, Todd, and probably several others whom I’ve missed. And what is so idiotic, so full of burning stupid combined with danger that I’m breaking my self-imposed weekend blog ban?

Regular readers of this blog and anyone who’s ever followed the anti-vaccine movement more than superficially have probably heard of pox parties. These are, yes, parties where parents who don’t want to vaccinate their children against chickenpox, hoping for “natural immunity,” intentionally expose their children who have never had chickenpox to children with active chickenpox in order to intentionally infect them with the disease. (Thanks, Mom and Dad, for a couple of weeks worth of misery and intense itching!) Pox parties are about as idiotic a concept as I can think of and only make sense in the context of equally idiotic anti-vaccine pseudoscience, and apparently, as is the case with many idiotic things, has co-opted Facebook and other discussion forums as a means of getting like minded (if you can call what is behind this a “mind”) together for purposes of inflicting misery on their children, not to mention the potential for serious complications. One such page even has a Quack Miranda-style warning:

It is explicitly expressed that, regardless of the beliefs of the group moderator or its members, the group is not responsible for the outcome of the connections made. This group is not intended to give medical advice, speak as a medical authority, or cause children to contract any illness. Parents who do so on this board, do so at their own risk and without the advise or recommendation of the leadership of this group.

Which is, of course, a lie so obvious that one wonders why the moderators even bother.

Some proudly display pictures of pox on children’s limbs. Others are even so proud of their “efforts,” that they proudly post pictures of them on their blogs, with chirpy captions like “The little people enjoying each other, playing, and getting exposed” and “Although it sounds awful, we certainly hope the exposing worked!” I can only respond that it doesn’t just “sound” awful. It is awful. True, such complications are fairly uncommon but they can be quite serious, all in the name of being “natural” and avoiding those evil vaccines. It turns out that some parents, apparently having difficulty finding children with active chickenpox in their area (thanks to the aforementioned evil vaccine, no doubt), are mailing the virus to each other:

Doctors and medical experts are concerned about a new trend taking place on Facebook. Parents are trading live viruses through the mail in order to infect their children.

The Facebook group is called “Find a Pox Party in Your Area.” According to the group’s page, it is geared toward “parents who want their children to obtain natural immunity for the chicken pox.”

On the page, parents post where they live and ask if anyone with a child who has the chicken pox would be willing to send saliva, infected lollipops or clothing through the mail.

Parents also use the page to set up play dates with children who currently have chicken pox.

Medical experts say the most troubling part of this is parents are taking pathogens from complete strangers and deliberately infecting their children.

One concern is that they are sending the virus through the mail.

Here’s the local Arizona news report:

Again, I can’t begin to describe how reckless and idiotic this is. It’s also highly illegal–a federal offense. I know of what I speak, because I personally have had to ship viruses and DNA plasmids through the mail. The reason was when I changed jobs about four years ago and was in the process of moving my laboratory to a new institution. I had a lot of adenoviral constructs. Varicella virus falls under the same sorts of rules as adenovirus. There are very specific rules for shipping. Tara explains quite nicely some of the requirements, among which is that there are very specific labeling requirements for the package to indicate what pathogens are inside. In fact, I found out the hard way just how rigorous and complex the labeling requirements were when a couple of the packages were returned because, as much as we tried to follow the letter of the regulations, we had somehow missed something in the labeling and paperwork. At that point I even briefly flirted with the idea of loading the samples up in my car and taking them myself when I hit the road to my new location. I quickly abandoned that notion, realizing that that, too, would be illegal and potentially dangerous. What if I got in a car crash along the way? So instead, we checked, double checked, and triple checked our packaging and paperwork and sent it again. This time, it went through, as we hadn’t missed any of the requirements.

As Mike the Mad Biologist points out, this is no different from bioterrorism, other than in intent. For one thing, the parents doing this seem utterly oblivious to the potential danger to the postal workers or workers at FedEx, UPS, or other shipping company that they use to send these biohazards. One also wonders if the parents use anything approaching proper technique to insert their “gifts” into the packages so that they don’t get it on their fingers and thus contaminate the outside of the package. In any case, should the package be damaged or should the baggy fail, so much for containment, and anyone who comes into contact with the package is at risk. That’s why there are so many federal regulations about shipping biohazardous substances across state lines. Indeed, when it was pointed out that shipping biohazards like bodily fluids from an individual infected with varicella across state lines is a federal offense, this was the reaction:

A Facebook post reads, “I got a Pox Package in mail just moments ago. I have two lollipops and a wet rag and spit.” Another woman warns, “This is a federal offense to intentionally mail a contagion.”

Another woman answers, “Tuck it inside a zip lock baggy and then put the baggy in the envelope ? Don’t put anything identifying it as pox.”

The level of irresponsibility and lack of concern for fellow human beings is staggering. As Todd points out, it’s not just varicella that might be in there? How does anyone know that there aren’t other pathogens in there? They are utterly self-absorbed, selfish, and lack concern for anyone but themselves and their own family. Indeed, look at the interview with the first mother in the video; she openly discusses sending pox through the mail and doesn’t seem to think it’s a big deal, all the while rambling on about how it’s the parents’ “choice.” The second mother, when confronted by the reporter, out and out lies about what was on her Facebook page, denying that she ever sent pox through the mail. It’s a mindset that was perfectly described as a Me! Mine! Mommy mindset that boils down to, basically, the right to be selfish.

But it’s worse than that. Near the end of the report from the local CBS affiliate above, there is a post from a parent looking for measles, which is much more dangerous than chickenpox. Her reason? This:

Dad is threatening to take it to court and getting exposed is the only way not to get the vaccine without possibly losing custody.

If you want an example of how far the irrational fear of vaccines will drive some people, you have no further to look than this story. At the risk of being too “strident” or “nasty” or “uncivil,” I can say unequivocally that what they are doing is, in my opinion, child abuse and that I hope that the feds come down on them like a ton of bricks for violating federal law and endangering everyone who comes into contact with their little “pox packages.”

Comments

  1. #1 lilady
    November 9, 2011

    @ Calli: It sure does change the role of the recipient into the role of the distributor. They are all, IMO, equally morally bankrupt, repugnant and are child abusers.

    As a side benefit, all the anti-vax bloggers who have featured this “practice” might be closer scrutinized by parents looking for advice on vaccines.

  2. #2 Bruce of Canuckistan
    November 9, 2011

    @Calli Arcale:

    I agree with your point about CPS, however firstly, having that ultimate consequence in the air may help them focus their attention on what social service workers have to say about where their rights stop and their children’s begin.

    And secondly, as I pointed out above, often the parent’s crank views about vaccination or CP are just the tip of the iceberg. I believe that for many who are deeply into radical diet control and conspiracy theories, it’s not so much an ideology as a symptom of mental illness (please note I do not put vegetarians in that box).

    Most altie-types are just rebelling against society, and perhaps dragging their kids along for the game. However I suspect that those going as far as pox-parties, mail-order-measles, and online attention-whoring using their children are far more likely to be in the serious mental illness category. It’s a red flag.

  3. #3 Mrs. Woo
    November 9, 2011

    ty Denice for finding links. I figured those diets were well known. Can anyone tell that woo is around all sides of my life? I’ve been kind of coerced into trying the alkaline raw food only diet thing TWICE because hubby keeps reading it cures ALL diseases (that should be a big flashing red light right there, but the woo-meisters announce it is because our body is poisoned by its acidity and if we would just shift our balance correctly no disease could possibly exist in something so healthy).

    I happen to LOVE real wheat bread, especially the homemade artisan-style crusty kinds. Of course woo says that means I’m allergic to wheat. Thank goodness hubby only pushes THAT idea once or twice a year!

    But yes, T-reg, frequently diets pushed by some lovers of woo can be very unhealthy, especially for a growing child. It is one of the things that can make me a little more concerned for children in homes that don’t vaccinate.

  4. #4 Raincitygirl
    November 9, 2011

    My mum teaches public school in British Columbia, Canada. Based on her experiences reporting child abuse and neglect among her students, child protection workers wouldn’t open a file on a family based on the sending or receiving of a “pox package” unless there was an immune-suppressed child in the family. And parents with immunse-suppressed children tend to be in favour of vaccination, because it helps protect their kids.

    Child protection workers are overworked and underfunded in most jurisdictions. They’d roll their eyes at the looniness no doubt, but unless the pox package went along with other reportable behaviour, they’d walk on. If you only have X number of hours in a week, you’ll prioritize the child with cigarette burns over the one with crunchy granola parents. And rightly so.

    That said, it’s still illegal to send viruses through the mail, and I have no problem with pox packagers breaking out in a cold sweat imagining a visit from law enforcement.

  5. #5 Calli Arcale
    November 9, 2011

    Bruce:

    And secondly, as I pointed out above, often the parent’s crank views about vaccination or CP are just the tip of the iceberg.

    That’s where “pattern of abuse/negligence” would come into play. If the only thing they’ve done is give the child a contaminated sucker and avoided vaccination, taking away the children would do more harm than good. The point is, after all, to protect the children, so you don’t want to do more harm than you’re preventing.

    So you look for a pattern of behavior. And it’s not going to be easy to tell when it’s time to take the kids away; there is a very big gray area. But if in addition to this they’re treating the kid’s diabetes with homeopathy, there may be a cause for court intervention. Even then, I’d think they’d try to work with the parents before actually removing the children from the home.

  6. #6 Edith Prickly
    November 9, 2011

    @Mrs Woo – hope I’m not taking us too off topic, but Orac has written about alkaline diet woo before: http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2007/06/your_friday_dose_of_woo_acid_base_or_woo_2.php

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2006/09/your_friday_dose_of_woo_acid_base_or_woo_1.php

    Might help next time Mr. Woo tries to put you on a diet.

    Now back to the discussion about pox-mailing maniacs….

  7. #7 ed haslett
    November 9, 2011

    Wow, I (nearly) never comment on stories or blogs because it seems pointless. But, almost all the replies or comments I have gotten have been well reasoned, interesting, and quite civil. One comment accused me of being morally retarded; first, I am responding to the comments as quickly as my time allows, so certainly not trying to dodge any criticism or anything like that, second, I don’t know what percentage of the general population would agree with me on this particular issue, but in general, I don’t think of myself as amoral or retarded.

    I am a huge believer in medicine, if I have a pain, can’t sleep, or have something preventing me from working I want it fixed. I want my doctor to be the richest happiest guy in the world, I don’t want the guy doing my back surgery to be worried about how to make his car payment. I am an opponent of socialized medicine, as I believe modern medicine has made the world a much better place, and I don’t want to remove any incentive to continue to innovate. When I said mailing around infected anything seems dumb, I intended that to mean I don’t think people should do it. One comment asked me for a case of the flu that had been transmitted via the USPS, great question, I have no answer, but, in fairness I would ask the same about Chicken Pox?

    My point (which I give you all great credit for more or less understanding) is simply this: Life is a risk, driving a car (or ridding in one) is statistically more fatal than the Chicken Pox, unsighted source indicates ~100 deaths per year from chicken pox and ~40,000 from car accidents.

    In no way am I discouraging people from vaccinations, polio, small pox, and a variety of other horrible diseases have been eradicated or nearly eradicated by the introduction of vaccines. If I wasn’t old, I would probably get a cp vaccination, and I do get a flu shot every year (if I remember). However, chicken pox is not cancer, it is not small pox, it is nearly universally survivable without medical intervention, in my mind that makes vaccination voluntary (just like the flu shot).

    I just think we need to use common sense, we all have different lots in life, unless the situation is completely untenable, parents are responsible for their children. If a child has a treatable tumor and a parent denies treatment, that is life threatening, and intervention is probably warranted. I think everyone here is smart enough to know that is not comparable to chicken pox.

    There are things that laws and regulations can’t fix, if we eliminate all risk from life, life can be pretty boring at best. I for one wish I had been born to folks that had wealth, life would have been soooo much easier, but, sadly that wasn’t my lot. My folks were not always afraid to give a swat, or even a slap if the situation warranted it, and I don’t think it had a negative impact on my life, and I certainly don’t consider it abuse.

    Back to the point, chicken pox is not a significant threat to life in most cases. And I don’t think anyone would dispute, that sometimes we find years after introduction, that medications do have unintended negative consequences. So, as far as cp vaccinations go, I believe they should be voluntary, and I would humbly ask anyone that thinks not vaccinating your kids, or even allowing them to get the disease “the old fashion way” is child abuse, to take a breath, and at least think about the possibility that the pendulum may have swung too far.

  8. #8 Gray Falcon
    November 9, 2011

    Ed, can you sleep at night knowing you just trivialized the deaths of everyone who died of chickenpox?

  9. #9 Chris
    November 9, 2011

    Mr. Haslett:

    Back to the point, chicken pox is not a significant threat to life in most cases. And I don’t think anyone would dispute, that sometimes we find years after introduction, that medications do have unintended negative consequences.

    Except to the hundred or so who used to die from chicken pox before the vaccine. And what happens years after actually getting chicken pox is that some people get shingles, which can be very painful.

    Sure it is not as dangerous as a being driven in a car, but it is two weeks of itchy pain for kids. I lived for a month with itchy kids, including a baby who seemed to cry for two weeks and one child so sick he wet his bed every night. I really wish they had had the vaccine (which became available the next year). I feel that anyone who thinks kids should endure that kind of pain and illness is cruel.

    Believe it or not: I used to think that chicken pox was not that bad, until I experienced the month of no sleep, constant laundry and baths, enforced isolation and three miserable kids. It didn’t help that the washing machine needed to be repaired (I remember telling the dispatcher to send someone who had already had chicken pox).

    Also, in a sense the vaccine is voluntary. Except for two states the vaccine requirements for public school can be waived if the parent files an exemption.

    By the way, my family doctor has told me that the shingles vaccine is okay for those fifty and older. But his clinic has a limited supply, so he is recommending to his patients 50 to 60 to get it from their local pharmacy. So if you are over fifty, think about getting the shingles vaccine. You might want to get the Tdap when it is time to get your tetanus booster.

  10. #10 ed haslett
    November 9, 2011

    @ Gray Falcon & Chris: If you have been personally touched by this my apologies. I guess even if you haven’t I apologize as my intent is not to trivialize anyone. Let me try this; I have a friend/co-worker that recently lost his young daughter. They were at a relative’s house, it was rainy outside, and the kids were playing up stairs in a bed room. The girls were jumping on the bed, the window was open, and his daughter fell out, landed poorly, and lost her life. Both a true and deeply sad story, but, how we react is the key. This could have been prevented by banning and destroying all multi-level dwellings, forbidding kids to play, placing bars on all windows, and a variety of other things (admittedly some more practical than others, but I am trying to make a point). People die every day, lots in various accidents, some from smoking, some from drinking, some from diseases (preventable and unpreventable). I hate quoting statistics to make a point, but, over 3,000 people die every year from drowning, would you prevent you child from swimming? The risk of death is higher than that from chicken pox. Again, sorry if I hurt you in anyway, but my point stands, you can’t protect people from everything, without taking away all of their freedom. And sadly 100 people is more of a statistical anomaly than a point of real concern. Yup, I still remember having chicken pox as a kid, one of my few memories back to that age, so clearly it was unpleasant in the extreme, both my kids had it as well. I am not an insurance sales man, but, hopefully this applies. “Always insure against the worst case scenario, no matter how unlikely, and never insure against annoyances no matter how likely”. At the end of the day, the impact of chicken pox is just not high enough to force people to take action against it.

  11. #11 ed haslett
    November 9, 2011

    @Chris; I am not quite 50 yet, but if my fragile memory holds, I will consider that. Thank you.

  12. #12 Chris
    November 9, 2011

    Oh, I feel so much for your friends! That is terrible!

    Once during hot weather I went up to check on my kids and found my thirty month old younger son on the dresser inches from a fully open second story window. I screamed at my husband! That window had a special latch that kept it locked with only three inches open*, and he thought it would be okay for it to be fully open.

    The thing is, Mr. Haslett, the hazards from chicken pox are preventable. Then you said:

    I hate quoting statistics to make a point, but, over 3,000 people die every year from drowning, would you prevent you child from swimming?

    My younger son is a lifeguard (the one who almost went out a window), so this is something I know about. Unfortunately many of the drownings are also preventable. Some are young teens who think they can swim and stray away from areas with lifeguards. Some are very young children (under age four) who wander into bodies of water when they cannot swim, or even tip into buckets of water. Then there are those folks who do not wear life jackets when they go boating, especially on rivers (the early summer when rivers are full of snow melt are especially dangerous).

    Then there is the bugaboo of all trained lifeguards: parents thinking their children can “swim” unsupervised with inflatable rings on their arms or special swimming suits with styrofoam inserts. Neither of those will keep a child’s head above water.

    Many deaths are preventable, especially if it is just a simple shot in the arm.

    *Sad stupid thing about the latch that kept the window open only to three inches: when we ordered new windows for an addition from the same company that feature was no longer available. Apparently someone died in a fire because he could not open the window far enough, so they were no longer allowed. Double sigh.

    By the way, I think making kids go through a disease when it can be prevented is also “parent abuse.” The kids may end up fine, but we are the ones who go without sleep, who clean up the messes and deal with the guilt.

  13. #13 Gray Falcon
    November 9, 2011

    And sadly 100 people is more of a statistical anomaly than a point of real concern.

    Ah, so human life means nothing to you. Thanks for sharing.

  14. #14 Dangerous Bacon
    November 10, 2011

    I think Ed has a point. Think what we could save in medical costs if insurance companies adhered to this philosophy.

    “Sorry Mr. Haslett, but you’ll just have to live with your hemorrhoids, kidney stones and bum knee. They’re not going to kill you, and we can’t force everyone else who pays into the plan to spend money to fix your annoyances.”

    Yeah, that’ll work.

  15. #15 Todd W.
    November 10, 2011

    @ed haslett

    So, you’re equating vaccination against chicken pox with banning children from swimming. Uh huh.

    I’m sorry, but that is a really, really bad analogy. Chicken pox carries a risk of serious injury or death. Vaccination decreases that risk by either preventing infection altogether or training the immune system so that an infection is mitigated.

    Playing in the water carries a risk of serious injury or death. Swimming lessons decrease that risk through education about how to avoid dangerous situations and what to do when you find yourself in such a situation.

    Banning swimming would be more equivalent to banning contact with any possibly infectious individuals through isolating them to their home and not allowing them outside or putting them in a bubble.

    You seem to be advocating against swimming lessons and for just tossing kids in the water to see whether they make it out unharmed or not.

  16. #16 Vicki
    November 10, 2011

    By law, my landlord is required to send around forms periodically, asking about window guards. I have three options: A child under a certain age (six?) lives in my apartment, so install window guards; no child under that age lives in my apartment, and I don’t want them; or no child under that age lives here, but I want them anyway.

    People still enjoy the air, sunlight, et cetera, and fewer children die or are injured by falls.

    Yes, it’s possible to be over-cautious, but I don’t think that’s manifesting as window guards, seat belts, or chicken pox vaccine. It’s in the teenagers who aren’t allowed to ride the bus or subway alone. It’s my friend, in her early 30s, for whom my generation’s stories of casually riding our bikes around urban or suburban neighborhoods, with instructions of “be home by six/seven/dark” or “don’t go beyond $location,” sound like something out of historical fiction.

  17. #17 Chris
    November 10, 2011

    I seem to have a comment in moderation. My younger son in college is a lifeguard: it also turns out that many cases of drowning are often preventable. It takes a bit more effort than taking a child to a clinic for a couple of vaccines, because it requires a bit more education (learning to swim, vigilance, using proper life jackets, not being intoxicated near water, etc).

  18. #18 Beamup
    November 10, 2011

    @ Ed:

    Your various arguments that different things are more dangerous than chicken pox are really quite irrelevant. For any individual decision, one must look at the risks vs. benefits of that decision. Sure driving in a car is more dangerous than chicken pox. It is also more beneficial. It tells us absolutely nothing at all about the question at hand.

    The vaccine’s benefits outweigh the risks – this is well established. Pox parties have fewer benefits and greater risks, so are an inappropriate alternative to vaccination. Attempting to send virus through the mail like this has effectively no benefit and vastly greater risk, so is completely unsupportable. Ergo, there is only one choice that makes sense. Those who claim they have any equivalence and it’s just personal preference are objectively wrong.

  19. #19 lilady
    November 10, 2011

    @ Todd W:

    “Banning swimming would be more equivalent to banning contact with any possibly infectious individuals through isolating them to their home and not allowing them outside or putting them in a bubble.”

    Back in the bad old days before the availability of polio vaccine, municipalities did ban swimming at public beaches and pools, with limited success. There still were cases of polio and deaths. My childhood friend died from polio.

    I wonder what the “tipping point” would be for “Ed” to reconsider his dismissal of the 100 deaths each year…would 150 deaths or 200 deaths, cause him to change his mind?

    Ed, you do realize, don’t you, that for the 100 people who die each year, chicken pox is 100 % fatal.

  20. #20 Th1Th2
    November 10, 2011

    I’m sorry, but that is a really, really bad analogy.

    The worst analogy that I have heard so far is the infamous vaccine-seatbelt analogy. It’s embarrassing that provax always use this kind of straw man to keep this thread up. No wonder they can’t argue when it comes to Science because they know it burns. For example who would dare inoculate their children with varicella when they know that the vaccine would “set them up for shingles later in life”? Of course, people who vaccinate are ignorant.

  21. #21 TBruce
    November 10, 2011

    Ed:

    As well as death, complications of chicken pox include shingles in later life and severe consequences to the fetus from infections in pregnancy. There’s also the misery of severe infections which have been recounted here. All good things to avoid, don’t you think?

    And I don’t think anyone would dispute, that sometimes we find years after introduction, that medications do have unintended negative consequences.

    Do you know of any vaccines where this has happened?

  22. #22 lilady
    November 10, 2011

    Please don’t feed delusional, uneducated, health care professional wannabe, disease-promoting troll…it needs “terminal disinfection”.

  23. #23 Tel
    November 10, 2011

    I just looked up the stats from the CDC and DHPE websites, with a little bit of supplementary research from WebMD. It pretty much confirmed what I remember from my childhood (born in 1980, got chicken pox before the vaccine existed) – infection rate on chicken pox was pretty darn close to 100%. If you were a human being living on planet earth, you would probably get the virus sometime during your life, either from a vaccine or wild infection.

    Deaths per year were about evenly split – 50/50, adults and children. 90% of infections were children, so that means adult-onset chicken pox was much more dangerous than childhood chicken pox. (This very much corresponded to my memory of being told that the younger you got it, the better). So, this means that (before the vaccine!) it was absolutely rational to try to get your kids infected young.

    I’m absolutely going to get my daughter vaccinated. But I don’t completely buy the “putting your kid at risk for death” angle of it. The chance of death from chicken pox would be something like 0.0000322%, absent other factors (weak immune system, etc). I’d suspect that reducing chance of death by 3/100,000 would be along the lines of having a coffee table with rounded edges instead of corners. Yeah, it’s probably a good idea, but I’m not about to haul a parent off to jail over it.

    “Failure to prevent harm” is where I’m a lot more concerned. With the vaccine in existence, it doesn’t make so much sense to put the kid through the illness if it can be avoided. If the kid gets it wild, he or she *will* be in for a week of itchy discomfort and fever, unless they’re fantastically lucky. If you could prevent or minimize that, why wouldn’t you? About 15-20% of the people who get the vaccine, do come down with chicken pox anyway – but according to the CDC site it’s usually a milder case than wild infection would produce.

    Still, I’m not sure I’d 100% label it child abuse if a parent has the kid get the disease wild. There are other things that parents do that are just as obviously harmful (if not more so) that aren’t usually considered child abuse – secondhand smoke for instance. In the grand scheme of things, how damaging is chicken pox? It obviously isn’t nothing, but does it rise to the same level as a beating, or giving the kid illegal drugs? It seems to me that it doesn’t, so I’d rather the law stay out of it. Shame and ridicule of the parents involved will probably be a better deterrent.

  24. #24 Th1Th2
    November 10, 2011

    I’m absolutely going to get my daughter vaccinated. But I don’t completely buy the “putting your kid at risk for death” angle of it.

    No not yet. Just child abuse on your part (i.e. you’re an infection promoter).

  25. #25 lilady
    November 10, 2011

    Please don’t feed delusional, uneducated, health care professional wannabe, disease-promoting troll…it needs “terminal disinfection”.

  26. #26 Robin
    November 10, 2011

    Nutty. My mother took me to play with kids with chickenpox 2 or 3 times, but it never took. I finally had chickenpox for the first time 10 years ago, age 27, and was MISERABLE; I wish I’d known a vaccine was available! Much more reliable and not nearly as painful.

  27. #27 Reuben
    November 10, 2011

    you’re an infection promoter

    So are you, Lloyd. Now go back under the bridge, where you belong.

  28. #28 Mrs. Woo
    November 10, 2011

    Because there seems to be misinformation about “not getting shingles if you get the chicken pox vaccine” (it might be being implied and not stated – if that is a point of contention let me know).

    My niece (14 at the time) developed shingles last year and her pediatrician said it was because she got the chicken pox vaccine. Since it is still infecting you with varicella zoster, you still can have a recurrence in the form of shingles. It was also implied that she wouldn’t have had shingles at such a young age if she had had real chicken pox instead of a vaccine.

    I did find this:
    http://www.nfid.org/pdf/factsheets/varicellaadult.pdf

    It does say that you can still get shingles after getting vaccinated for chicken pox and recommends a shingles vaccination for people over 60.

  29. #29 Th1Th2
    November 10, 2011

    It was also implied that she wouldn’t have had shingles at such a young age if she had had real chicken pox instead of a vaccine.

    False. Individuals who have had primary varicella infection either by natural infection or vaccine are the ONLY (lucky) candidates for shingles.

    It does say that you can still get shingles after getting vaccinated for chicken pox […]

    Well, that is pretty obvious.

    […]and recommends a shingles vaccination for people over 60.

    The shingles vaccine is an adult chicken pox vaccine therefore it would not prevent shingles.

  30. #30 lilady
    November 10, 2011

    Please don’t feed delusional, uneducated, health care professional wannabe, disease-promoting troll…it needs “terminal disinfection”.

  31. #31 Pixiedemon
    November 10, 2011

    As a regular lurker on this site, I thought I would share with you how the BBC have now picked up this story in the UK. Currently one of the top 10 stories on the BBC news website, although I’ve not heard it on the radio or TV.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15647434

  32. #32 Krebiozen
    November 10, 2011

    There’s an article worth reading if you’re interested in varicella and zoster, ‘Prevention of Herpes Zoster: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)’ here. A couple of relevant quotes:

    Collectively these studies suggest that the risk for Oka/Merck strain zoster following varicella vaccination is no higher, and likely considerably lower, than that following wild-type varicella infection, even though the acquisition of the Oka/Merck VZV through vaccination generally occurs at a young age (i.e., varicella vaccination is recommended for children aged >12 months), which might be a risk factor for pediatric zoster. As varicella vaccine recipients age, the risk for and manifestation of Oka/Merck strain zoster in older persons at greater risk for zoster complications can be evaluated.

    And:

    In a large, placebo-controlled clinical trial, the zoster vaccine reduced BOI [burden of illness] attributed to zoster by 61.1 % and the incidence of PHN [post-herpetic neuralgia] by 66.5 %. The vaccine reduced the overall incidence of zoster by 51.3 % and substantially reduced its associated pain.

  33. #33 lilady
    November 10, 2011

    @ Pixiedemon: That’s an interesting article that you provided. I notice that our resident “fire science expert”, Sid Offal, was quoted under his real name. It seems that Offal has another Facebook page which I looked for and it is totally devoid of content, just like his postings here.

  34. #34 LW
    November 10, 2011

    I find myself wondering … since chickenpox is a live virus anyway, could pediatricians offer it on a lollipop, or a sugar cube, like the polio virus in the old days? Just for the children of antivaxxers, of course. If they’d tell their children to accept infectious lollipops from strangers, why not (less virulently) infectious lollipos from doctors?

  35. #35 Th1Th2
    November 10, 2011

    I find myself wondering … since chickenpox is a live virus anyway, could pediatricians offer it on a lollipop, or a sugar cube, like the polio virus in the old days? Just for the children of antivaxxers, of course. If they’d tell their children to accept infectious lollipops from strangers, why not (less virulently) infectious lollipos from doctors?

    It’s easy to see why doctors are the leading infection promoters.

  36. #36 ed haslett
    November 10, 2011

    Intent vs. Effect

    So I read the article and the comments, found the subject interesting, and added my opinion. I am a believer in modern medicine, I don’t hang with chiropractors or acupuncturist, and I think homeopathic medicine is a way to take advantage of desperate people. But now I am defending people that if I knew them, I would say they are crazy, and I am researching vaccine side effects to prepare this post……….

    I believe most of you are saying getting vaccinated against chicken pox is a good idea. No problem, couldn’t agree more. Where I disagree is where I wish everyone would. People that don’t get their kids vaccinated against chicken pox are not (on that fact alone), stupid, abusive, uneducated, or the devil.

    If you advocate a position to a ridiculous extreme, you are unlikely to get the outcome you expect.

    @TBruce Please have a look at the side effects for DTaP vaccine. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/side-effects.htm
    @Tel Well said.

    What I believe about everything I can think of:

    No person with a scientific background would find ~100 deaths per year statistically significant. There are few occupations or hobbies that kill less people every year. I’m sorry, but yes Dangerous Bacon, I think a case could be made that the money spent researching a vaccine for chicken pox could have been better spent on fixing bum knees.

    Seat belts = good
    Compelling people over the age of consent to wear them = bad

    Motor cycle helmets = good
    Compelling people over the age of consent to wear them = bad

    Smoking = bad
    Restricting free people from doing something they enjoy, that has little or no effect on others = bad

    I’m sure you get it.

    Get vaccinated against any disease you would like, don’t smoke, wear your seat belt, and have a happy life. But please, don’t encroach on others freedom to choose for themselves and their charges.

  37. #37 TBruce
    November 10, 2011

    @TBruce Please have a look at the side effects for DTaP vaccine

    I did. The first thing it says is that the risks of the diseases diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis are far greater than the risks of the vaccine. Secondly, it says nothing about “unintended negative consequences… years after introduction”.

    Do you mean adverse effects that arise years after getting the vaccine, or adverse effects that occur shortly after getting the vaccine, but aren’t recognized as related to the vaccine until years later (because they are so rare)? I meant the first in my comment. By your citation, I guess that you meant the second.

    I’ll just add my opinion that it is foolish to avoid the DTaP because of a 1 in a million risk of a serious complication (and this is not even proven), and leave your family with the “opportunity” to experience diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, all of which have a very high risk of morbidity and mortality. But I guess that’s your choice. Your children, not so much.

  38. #38 ed haslett
    November 10, 2011

    @TBruce: Good grief, yes you are correct in your second description of my comment. Trying to position me as be against DPaT vaccination is a deplorable tactic, you asked me for an example of a rare vaccine side effect from a reliable source and I provided one, from that you can make no inference that I don’t believe in the efficacy of the DPaT vaccine.

    Let’s follow your logic: if a serious complication from the DPaT vaccine is one in a million chance, and a possible serious complication from chicken pox is roughly mathematically equivalent (do the math) then I guess (from your perspective) parents of a DPaT vaccinated child, and a parent that allows their child to get chicken pox are equally guilty of causing harm to their child?

    Back to my original post (and the reason I don’t comment online);
    1. common sense is lacking in at least a portion of our current society.
    2. I can’t believe I have devoted this much time to talking about something mildly interesting, but completely inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.
    3. Come on!! We are talking about chicken pox……… something everyone over 25 has had!! Sure there are a small percentage of people in the world capable of doing truly stupid things. Mailing a sucker from a child with cp to a person that wants cp is clearly stupid, and interesting enough to cause me to comment. But, it is only stupid, it is no more dangerous than sneezing on an envelope. If it is illegal (which I don’t care to debate) it is based on a law that was designed to protect against far more serious threats than stupidity.
    4. If you took the kids from all the people that did something stupid, there would be few families intact. I will admit this is probably a sad commentary on me, but, if there are truly people that have nothing better to worry about than whether someone else’s kid gets cp, they probably don’t have enough problems of their own.

  39. #39 ken
    November 10, 2011

    TBruce- There has been no confirmed case of diphtheria in the USA since 2003
    See CDC
    http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/diptheria_t.htm

  40. #40 squirrelelite
    November 11, 2011

    @ken,

    Then we’re lucky. To what do you attribute that “luck”?

    Not scientific, but I know what my mother would attribute it to, Vaccination!

    When I visited her this summer, we spoke about her experience working as a nurse in an Army hospital at the end of World War II. She said that was when she saw the only case of diptheria that she ever treated in her career as a nurse. And she also mentioned that they were vaccinating everyone who came into the hospital against diptheria.

    And unlike smallpox, diptheria hasn’t been eradicated.

    It didn’t take very much googling to come up with this instance:

    http://www.who.int/csr/don/2003_08_29/en/index.html

    As of 9 August 2003, WHO reported 50 cases, including 3 deaths ( case fatality rate, 6%), during 12 June and 2 August 2003 in a resettlement camp for internally displaced persons in Kandahar. Preliminary epidemiological data indicate that 74% of the cases were aged 5 to 14. Samples received by the Central Laboratory in Kabul confirm C.diptheriae. Further laboratory investigations are ongoing in Islamabad, Pakistan.

    A mass vaccination campaign targeting the entire population of the camp (c. 40,000) was launched on 2 August 2003. As of 7 August 2003, 7,544 individuals had received vaccine.

    Having endured chickenpox myself and watched my brothers and sisters suffer through it, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone when the alternative is very effective and has an excellent safety record.

    And when people are refusing protective measures like vaccination out of misinformed fears and we are seeing the recurrence of diseases like pertussis and measles, I shudder to think what it would be like if we see the recurrence of a disease that can kill 6% of the people who get it.

  41. #41 squirrelelite
    November 11, 2011

    And, to ed haslett,

    I will accept that you were at least trying to apologize for a mis-statement in an earlier post.

    And, a relative risk comparison is helpful in deciding which problems are more important to solve.

    But, why do you keep objecting to a preventive measure that can reduce the death toll by 88% or more from a disease that used to affect almost our entire population?

    http://www.immunizationinfo.org/pressroom/news-briefs/2011-07-25/sharp-drop-chickenpox-deaths-due-vaccine

  42. #42 lilady
    November 11, 2011

    @ ed haslett: Before licensing of the varicella vaccine in 1995, there were an estimated 4 million cases each year, 11,000 varicella-related hospitalizations and 100-150 deaths.

    Still think that the money to develop the vaccine would be better spent on fixing bum knees?

    I suggest you look at the CDC website to find the human “costs” of contracting the disease:

    What would happen if we stopped vaccinations?

    And, no I don’t agree with you that parents have the right to deliberately infect their child…it is abuse.

  43. #43 lilady
    November 11, 2011

    @ ken: The article you provided under “incidence” describes an epidemic of diphtheria in the former Soviet Union during the early 1990s. During this time of political upheaval, when vaccination rates plummeted, there were 150,000 cases. What do you think would happen in the USA, if the vaccination rates plummeted?

    The diphtheria vaccine first became available in 1923 in the USA. In 1921 there were 206,000 cases of diphtheria and 15,520 deaths from diphtheria. Diphtheria has a fatality rate of 5-10 % and up to 20 % fatality rate for the very young or elderly population that contracts the disease. ***So, Ken, what would be the number of cases and the number of deaths from diphtheria if the vaccination rate plummeted in 2011?

    ***1920 USA census total population 106 million and 2010 census total population 308 million (Wikipedia)

  44. #44 Chris
    November 11, 2011

    Um, Ken, the USA is not the only country on this planet. Perhaps you would like to explain to the parents of this Australian woman that there is no diphtheria in the USA.

  45. #45 Julian Frost
    November 11, 2011

    @ed haslett:

    Seat belts, Motor cycle helmets = good
    Compelling people over the age of consent to wear them = bad.

    Umm, no. My brother-in-law is an ex-policeman. One day, he went to the scene of an accident. The victim was an ex-teacher of ours (we went to the same high school). He had been going at speed when he hit a hole that had had its cover removed. It was on the freeway and he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt.
    He was “ejected from the vehicle at speed” (thrown through the windscreen) and hit the tarmac at such high speed that he was killed almost instantly. My BIL was one of the people who had to clean up the accident site.

    Smoking = bad
    Restricting free people from doing something they enjoy, that has little or no effect on others = bad.

    The dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke are well known. There are reasons why most countries now have severe restrictions on where you can or can’t smoke.

  46. #46 Julian Frost
    November 11, 2011

    @ed haslett:

    Seat belts, Motor cycle helmets = good
    Compelling people over the age of consent to wear them = bad.

    Umm, no. My brother-in-law is an ex-policeman. One day, he went to the scene of an accident. The victim was an ex-teacher of ours (we went to the same high school). He had been going at speed when he hit a hole that had had its cover removed. It was on the freeway and he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt.
    He was “ejected from the vehicle at speed” (thrown through the windscreen) and hit the tarmac at such high speed that he was killed almost instantly. My BIL was one of the people who had to clean up the accident site.

    Smoking = bad
    Restricting free people from doing something they enjoy, that has little or no effect on others = bad.

    The dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke are well known. There are reasons why most countries now have severe restrictions on where you can or can’t smoke.

  47. #47 hoary puccoon
    November 11, 2011

    ed haslett @ 235–

    As I’m sure you’ve heard many times, your right to swing your arm stops at my nose. The same goes for your right to smoke. Aside from the proven danger of secondhand smoke, why should you be allowed to ruin a $100/a plate anniversary dinner at the next table in the restaurant because you can’t wait half an hour for your nicotine fix?

    As far as helmets and seat belts, who pays the insurance bills when someone is thrown from a car and killed because she didn’t feel like wearing her seat belt, or a motorcyclist who might have escaped with a few scrapes and bruises ends up paralyzed because he didn’t wear a helmet? The actions you’re talking about can have serious adverse consequences for other people; they are not simply individual choices.

  48. #48 Todd W.
    November 11, 2011

    @ed haslett

    Mailing a sucker from a child with cp to a person that wants cp is clearly stupid, and interesting enough to cause me to comment. But, it is only stupid, it is no more dangerous than sneezing on an envelope.

    Au contraire. Last I checked, people were not in the habit of sucking on an envelope they received. Thus, they are unlikely to pick up much off of it. A lollipop, on the other hand, has one purpose: to be sucked. Now, the people sending these things may think that all they are sending is chicken pox. If that were the case, the likelihood of actually infecting anyone else is relatively small, since the mode of transmission is not conducive to the spread of varicella (which is spread predominantly via inhalation), not is it likely to even remain intact, as it does not survive long in the environment.

    The big problem, though, is what these parents may not know about or may know about but still do it anyway. That sucker may have other viruses on it, like HepA or HepB, which are transmitted orally. The damp rags and candy may also breed fungus or other bacteria, which may be hazardous to one’s health.

    Pox parties, IMO, are stupid. I don’t think they rise to the level of criminality, but they aren’t good ideas. Mailing suckers and crap like that, on the other hand, are, indeed, criminal. They knowingly send biological hazards via post, even if they know it is illegal, and should suffer the consequences of their actions.

    As to your comment about forcing safety measures, you forget some other factors, which some of the other commenters have already pointed out. Your choice not to wear a seatbelt or helmet has indirect negative effects on other people through increases in insurance premiums, drains on the medical system, etc. With the seatbelt example, there is the possibility that there will be direct harm of others, such as when the person not wearing a belt is ejected from the vehicle and collides with another person or damages property. Even if the person is not ejected, they may still hurt other people in the same vehicle, as they in essence become a loose, heavy projectile.

    If you are trying to argue that there is no good reason to compel immunization for something like chicken pox, you have yet to make any convincing points. The choice of whether or not to vaccinate affects more than just the individual or family making the decision. There is a measurable effect on the public.

  49. #49 Beamup
    November 11, 2011

    Where I disagree is where I wish everyone would. People that don’t get their kids vaccinated against chicken pox are not (on that fact alone), stupid, abusive, uneducated, or the devil.

    No, mostly they’ve just been duped by scammers. The leaders of the antivax movement, OTOH, are worthy of great scorn.

    No person with a scientific background would find ~100 deaths per year statistically significant.

    No person with a scientific background would so profoundly misuse the term “statistically significant.”

    There are few occupations or hobbies that kill less people every year.

    No person with any understanding of risk or risk management would think that has any relevance whatosever.

    Seat belts = good
    Compelling people over the age of consent to wear them = bad

    Motor cycle helmets = good
    Compelling people over the age of consent to wear them = bad

    As long as most of the monetary costs of their stupidity do not come out of their own pockets, there is a legitimate public interest. If someone’s foolish enough to drive without a seat belt and is critically injured because they did, the general public picks up the tab.

    Smoking = bad
    Restricting free people from doing something they enjoy, that has little or no effect on others = bad

    Smoking does not “ha[ve] little or no effect on others.” Second-hand smoke kills. Above and beyond the fact that the rest of us get to pay for the predictable consequences.

    Get vaccinated against any disease you would like, don’t smoke, wear your seat belt, and have a happy life. But please, don’t encroach on others freedom to choose for themselves and their charges.

    And of course, with vaccination we have the bolded bit which ALSO distinguishes it from all your other examples. With vaccination, the person making the decision is not making it for themselves. They are making it for another, uniquely vulnerable, person. Accordingly libertarianism doesn’t even come into it. There’s a lot more scope allowed to do stupid things that could get YOU killed than to do stupid things that could get SOMEBODY ELSE killed.

  50. #50 Gray Falcon
    November 11, 2011

    A question for ed haslett: By your logic, shouldn’t people be allowed to drive on whatever side of the road they want to?

  51. #51 ed haslett
    November 11, 2011

    And there you have it. The ultimate argument, “if your behavior impacts my insurance rates, I should be able to control your behavior”.
    Play that out for me: Fat guys get diabetes, we need to regulate diet and exercise. High risk occupations or hobbies expose people to a number of injuries that require treatment, ban those. Oddly, women having babies raise insurance rates, what can be done?
    Common sense dictates people that don’t like smoke should have environments where they are not exposed, certainly limiting smoking in common in door areas is a reasonable accommodation.
    Public safety folks (police and fire) frequently have to deal with unpleasant situations, hopefully they knew this when taking the job. People die with or without seat belts, and in either case I am sure it is unpleasant.
    This is certainly my last post, and I hope you get my point. On any subject, individual rights should be considered at least equal to the rights of society (my opinion obviously). Once you start approaching it from the other way (which we have) there is no realistic place to stop. If that is the society the majority of people want, who am I to argue, but, just to be clear, that is not the way the country started out, and it is not the way I want things to be.

  52. #52 Chris
    November 11, 2011

    Mr. Haslett:

    This is certainly my last post, and I hope you get my point.

    That you are now a concern troll? Yes, we got that with your first comment.

  53. #53 Beamup
    November 11, 2011

    You’ve overinterpreted my comments – apparently I was unclear. What I meant to imply was simply that you are wrong to claim that there is no public interest and it’s purely private. How to balance the conflicting interests is not something I’m speaking to. My point is firmly restricted to the fact that you’re greatly oversimplifying.

  54. #54 T-reg
    November 11, 2011

    @Ed haslett: It’s not just about the economic cost of the disease but also the social cost of the disease. A disease which can have debilitating complications makes the life of the suffer a living hell. A secondary effect is that it puts a huge strain on the family too in taking care of the patient.

    As medical science advances, the standards of care and the standards of health also rise. When you can avoid unnecessary discomfort and potential complications, why not? What benefit do you believe not vaccinating gives vs the risks?

  55. #55 Chris
    November 11, 2011

    T-reg:

    A secondary effect is that it puts a huge strain on the family too in taking care of the patient.

    A post I made finally came out of moderation. Note where I said:

    By the way, I think making kids go through a disease when it can be prevented is also “parent abuse.” The kids may end up fine, but we are the ones who go without sleep, who clean up the messes and deal with the guilt.

    I think I tried to make the point before, but Mr. Haslett really does not seem to understand what it takes to deal with sick children. I doubt he has had to stay up all night with a sick crying baby, or changed sheets in the middle of the night or even tried to provide comfort when there was no way to stop the itchy pain.

  56. #56 Luna_the_cat
    November 11, 2011

    There is yet another way that ed haslett’s comments are off the mark; he compares the vaccination of children, to the use of seat belts by people over the age of consent.

    In the latter case, whether or not you are willing to accept the testimony from medical professionals and first line emergency services as to the lowered fatality and disability rates which result from the enforcement of safety equipment in cars (and oh boy, does it ever exist, in spades!), you are still comparing adults making decisions which can harm themselves
    to
    adults making decisions which can harm their children.

    I note that a more accurate comparison would be with laws compelling parents to use suitable car seats and restraints with their children, not for themselves. Odd how you seem to have bypassed that.

    The fact is, there is a low fatality rate for chicken pox in children, but not nonexistant — and a far lower fatality rate (officially and according to all records: 0 ) associated with the use of the vaccine. Therefore, parents are putting children at unnecessary risk by deliberately not using the vaccine. Plus, there IS also real risk years down the line from shingles; parents are making decisions which can potentially (and will likely) have effects on their childrens’ health years after the initial event. Shingles is not trivial. Again, this is an entirely unnecessary endangerment, even though most people survive shingles, too.

    But, by using a false analogy, you are once again dodging the actual point — which is that “parents’ rights” are very legitimately curtailed against “children’s health rights.”

  57. #57 hoary puccoon
    November 11, 2011

    I suppose, if the highlight of your existence is that wild, free feeling you get by leaving your seatbelt unfastened when you drive to the store for a pack of smokes, these legal limitations must seem onerous beyond words.

  58. #58 Chris
    November 11, 2011

    From my recollection, whenever there is a second hand smoke article someone smoking advocate shows up. As you can see from the behavior of “Carol” on that link, she has no idea how her actions affects others.

  59. #59 hoary puccoon
    November 11, 2011

    I suppose, if the highlight of your existence is that wild, free feeling you get by leaving your seatbelt unfastened when you drive to the store for a pack of smokes, these legal limitations must seem onerous beyond words.

  60. #60 lilady
    November 11, 2011

    “This is certainly my last post, and I hope you get my point. On any subject, individual rights should be considered at least equal to the rights of society (my opinion obviously). Once you start approaching it from the other way (which we have) there is no realistic place to stop. If that is the society the majority of people want, who am I to argue, but, just to be clear, that is not the way the country started out, and it is not the way I want things to be.”

    I think we know where Ed is going with that remark…It is the mantra of the Tea Party/Libertarian folks.

    Here is another example of what the “folks” believe in:

    “If it was up to Ron Paul, or many of the Tea Party audience members at Monday night’s GOP presidential debate, churches, not the federal government, would help foot the bill for the medical costs of America’s 50 million residents living without health insurance.

    CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer’s hypothetical question about whether an uninsured 30-year-old working man in coma should be treated prompted one of the most boisterous moments of audience participation in the CNN/Tea Party Express.

    “What he should do is whatever he wants to do and assume responsibility for himself,” Paul responded, adding, “That’s what freedom is all about, taking your own risk. This whole idea that you have to compare and take care of everybody…”

    The audience erupted into cheers, cutting off the Congressman’s sentence.

    After a pause, Blitzer followed up by asking “Congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?” to which a small number of audience members shouted “Yeah!” (Source ABC.com)

    I’ve viewed each and every Republican candidates televised debate…including the one where Ron Paul said let the uninsured died. During another Republican debate, a gay serviceman who was deployed and served in Iraq, asked one of the candidates about supporting the civil rights of gay and lesbian service men and women…and was booed by the audience.

    There is another Republican debate scheduled for telecasting tomorrow night on CBS at 8 PM EST…topic will be foreign policy.

  61. #61 TBruce
    November 11, 2011

    Ed:

    The reason I had doubts about your choices is your consistent ignoring of the non-fatal effects of chicken pox infection – the suffering produced by the frequently severe cases of chicken pox, the higher risk of developing severe shingles in later life and the small but real risk of passing on or contracting a teratogenic infection. It’s not just the 100 deaths a year, although that certainly is a good thing to avoid.

  62. #62 Luna_the_cat
    November 11, 2011

    I have a lengthier post caught in moderation because I included a link about shingles, but I did want to make one clear point, as well — ed haslett’s comparison of vaccination of children for chicken pox to adults choosing whether or not to use seat belts, is a false analogy.

    “People making decisions which affect the health of their children” =/= “Compelling people over the age of consent to wear [seatbelts/helmets]”

    The real analogy is
    “People making decisions which affect the health of their children” = “People being compelled to use appropriate car seats and restraints for their children.”

    I notice he shies away from the crucial point: that it isn’t about people over the age of majority making decisions which affect only themselves. This is about adults making decisions which will have a definite effect on someone else.

  63. #63 Gray Falcon
    November 11, 2011

    I’m trying to make sense of Mr. Haslett’s ethics. He appears to believe that other people’s health, safety, and lives are less important than his personal convenience.

  64. #64 ed haslett
    November 11, 2011

    Ok, ok, just one more

    You guys are great, love the passion and consideration for others. Not so much, the trying to trap me into a political ideology, but I do understand. If anyone understands my point about personal liberty, and how each of the things I site takes a little bite of that, and how I believe this rolls going forward if left unchecked, they are not the vocal part of this audience.

    Kids are born to parents, not the state or fed. Parents are responsible for those kids until they are ~18. Now there are a few folks that treat their kids very badly, and there must be laws in a society to deal with that, our point of disagreement is where the line is drawn. Beating a kid to the point of bruising for forgetting to turn off the bathroom light is over the line. How about knocking them around for taking illegal drugs and being a part of a gang of vandals? How ‘bout letting a kid get a childhood disease we all (over 25) have had? How ‘bout not having plastic plugs in all the empty light sockets? I hope most would agree that at least one of those things is not child abuse, I don’t think we will ever agree on anything deeper.

    As far as sick kids, my daughter had a childhood illness (thank God nothing as serious as chicken pox sorry just a joke) that required several nights in the hospital, I did my time sleeping in a hospital crib with her so she could sleep. I don’t know if that shows I know what having a sick child is like, but, it is the best I have.

  65. #65 Rebecca
    November 11, 2011

    @Gray Falcon: This is exactly what gets me about anti-vaxxers and the “I’m not anti-vaccine but..” people. You corner them with the issue of public health and they change the goal posts or make lousy analogies. They simply refuse to answer the question and while one would think that that would be enough to quelch their movement or give them pause, the narcissism (sorry, I know the term is thrown around too much but that’s how I see it) is too great.
    Nobody wants to be made a fool, even in the case of obvious proof contrary to their beliefs. And anti-vax is about as much a belief, if not more, as astrology.

  66. #66 Chris
    November 11, 2011

    Mr. Haslett:

    As far as sick kids, my daughter had a childhood illness (thank God nothing as serious as chicken pox sorry just a joke) that required several nights in the hospital, I did my time sleeping in a hospital crib with her so she could sleep. I don’t know if that shows I know what having a sick child is like, but, it is the best I have.

    Oh, you poor deer! Give yourself a gold star. So you really have no idea what chicken pox is like, and definitely not for a full month of very sick kids in itchy pain.

    Oh, and today I took my kid in for another echocardiogram and a holter. There have been continuing issues since he was taken to the hospital by ambulance due to tachycardia a couple of months ago. It was even less fun than when he had taken to the hospital by ambulance because of seizures due to a now vaccine preventable disease.

    I really have no need of concern trolls who don’t understand the concept of “public health.”

  67. #67 ed haslett
    November 11, 2011

    @Chris: Both my kids had cp, as did I, it wasn’t a big deal. I hope your kid is ok, and I am not a troll (I don’t think). We disagree, but I didn’t/won’t call you names or judge you based on your opinion. Have a nice day

  68. #68 Gray Falcon
    November 11, 2011

    Ed, are your children the only children on planet Earth? That’s the only way you would have a valid point.

  69. #69 Luna_the_cat
    November 11, 2011

    @ed haslett —

    Beating a kid to the point of bruising for forgetting to turn off the bathroom light is over the line.

    My, how sensible and restrained of you. What about beating a kid to the point of bruising for “back talk” or refusing to do household chores? Is that more ok?

    How about knocking them around for taking illegal drugs and being a part of a gang of vandals?

    Well, gee, “knocking them around” covers so much. Do the parents have the right to box their ears? What about punch them in the face? What about beat them bloody with a belt? What level of harm becomes acceptable — something which could potentially kill them or leave them with permanent impairment?

    But here’s the real issue:

    How ‘bout letting a kid get a childhood disease we all (over 25) have had?

    But these parents aren’t just “letting them get” this disease — they are actively infecting them with the disease, and this instead of protecting their child against it. It isn’t just a passive failure to protect children from harm (although that can be bad enough, as with a failure to use seat belts and/or car seats for your child), it is a deliberate decision to do something to a child with potentially very serious results.

    a childhood disease we all (over 25) have had — yes, all of us here have had it and survived. Of course, the ones who didn’t survive it aren’t here to speak up for themselves.

  70. #70 ed haslett
    November 11, 2011

    I was wrong:

    Chicken pox is the worst thing ever. Any parent not getting thier child/children vaccinated should on that fact alone be punished to the fullest extent of the law. To make up for my sins, I will find out the vaccination status of any child I meet, and inform CPS of anyone that is not vaccinated.

  71. #71 Luna_the_cat
    November 11, 2011

    Way. To. Miss. The. Point.

    Your attempts to stretch every situation to the point of ludicrousness attest to the fact that you want to ignore the real problems that have been pointed out to you, and ignore the real points that have been made. It’s just another dodge to keep from acknowledging that anyone else has genuine concerns, the faux “OMG HORRORZ” reaction; again, it doesn’t impress, and it doesn’t support your argument.

  72. #72 ed haslett
    November 11, 2011

    @Luna_the_cat: Short of letting you write my reply I have no idea how to get out of this. Parents are responsible for their children; how to raise them, punish them, reward them, feed them, and vaccinate them. Except in the most extreme cases those things are none of anyone else’s business. In my opinion which I hope by now, I have made clear, whether or not a child gets a cp shot matters so little in the grand scheme of life that to consider it as child abuse is one of the strangest things I have ever heard. I honestly have nothing else to say on the subject.

  73. #73 Narad
    November 11, 2011

    I honestly have nothing else to say on the subject.

    I see someone has borrowed a page from the Laura playbook.

  74. #74 Luna_the_cat
    November 11, 2011

    @ed haslett —

    So what you’re saying is that, in your view, except for the “most extreme” cases (so, obviously, you see that a line gets drawn somewhere) the parents’ rights to treat their child how they please trumps the child’s right to safety, healthcare and protection.

    In other words, the most important thing wrt protection from disease is that child is considered as property of the parent? The less important thing is to protect the interests of the child?

  75. #75 Mrs. Woo
    November 11, 2011

    @ Mr Haslett – I said a long time ago in this thread that when the chicken pox vaccine was released my pediatrician recommended against it with much the same attitude that you have – she assured me that chicken pox is much less likely to have the complications/death as measles and other vaccinated diseases. Since it was at that time still an optional vaccination (that was changed rather quickly), she recommended I find a kid with chicken pox and expose my son if I could because the chicken pox illness would grant better immunity than the vaccine.

    “Troll” is an internet term (though you have to wonder about the under the bridge insinuation) used for someone who stirs up controversy in a chat room or on a discussion forum/thread just for the purpose of creating controversy. I honestly don’t believe you are trolling, or at least am taking you at face value. Rather, I think that you believe that there should be some limit of the mandate of vaccines and that there is the possibility that some aren’t necessary. Sometimes I, too, wonder at which point we quit trying to vaccinate against every single virus under the sun.

    Sadly, one argument not brought up by those that are supportive of the entire vaccination schedule and arguing for the chicken pox vaccine is that, with the increasing amount of vaccination for chicken pox, it is much harder to find someone with chicken pox to get your child natural exposure (which might be one of the reasons the internet pox party has come into existence – you can’t find someone just down the road that has chicken pox because so many are immunized). As has been discussed on this thread, the older you are when you get chicken pox the more likely you are to have a very serious case of it.

    That in and of itself, sadly, is now an argument for immunization. If you do not immunize your child for chicken pox and they do not have adequate opportunity for exposure to it until they are in their 20s you are much more likely to expose your child to significant harm (as an adult) vs. if you would have had them vaccinated.

    So, even if you argue that chicken pox really doesn’t have that high of an incidence of complication in young children vs pertussis, diptheria, Hib or measles, the fact that their natural exposure is so much more rare and that they might run into chicken pox much later in life suggests that vaccinating against chicken pox is a much kinder choice than taking the risk of trying to get the wild virus mailed to you by a complete stranger or waiting until they might encounter it since they might be much older when that happens.

  76. #76 ed haslett
    November 11, 2011

    LOL, ok I have quit my job, so now I have unlimited time to respond to this article.
    In order:
    I don’t know who Laura is.
    Yes. I believe I was the best person to raise my kids. On a macro level certainly my household was ran better than any government agency that I am aware of. On a micro level, I cared more, and made more rational decisions than any 50k a year social worker with 100 cases to manage could.

    If you don’t like my position, or my analogies that is ok, and well within your rights, but please, take a dispassionate look at the kids and young adults that come out of foster care. If you call this child abuse, that is a possible remedy and from my understanding, it is nearly worst case for the kids you so desperately want to protect from a week of itching, and a far less than 1% chance of serious complication.

    @Mrs. Woo: You are correct that anything you can do to avoid adult CP is probably a good idea. And thank you for the clarification on troll, clearly my idea of common sense is not globally held, but I didn’t intend to create this conversation.

    Life is full of risk, we were not built to live forever, and it doesn’t appear that we were intended to live with no suffering. I didn’t design the world, but I am smart enough to know I don’t have the only valid opinion. I am also smart enough (or dumb enough depending on your perspective) to know I am responsible for myself and my family.

  77. #77 Todd W.
    November 11, 2011

    @Ed Haslett

    I think I see what’s happening. You’re arguing against a bit of a straw man (“Intentionally infecting children with chicken pox is child abuse” without considering the further context of available alternatives). You also appear to jump to extremes. For example, no one said put the kid in protective custody or foster homes. In fact, Calli and Mrs. Woo both argued against that. Supervision by CPS, perhaps, might be called for. Maybe have relatives care for the children if warranted, but I don’t recall anyone suggesting that the children should be removed from the home and placed with strangers or in a government facility. The situation calls for a very nuanced approach.

    You also equated these pox packages as equivalent to mailing an envelope when you have the flu. This completely ignores the intent part of equation. These people are mailing known infectious material with the intent to cause infection. Things are not so simple as you try to make them.

    Let’s go back to your swimming example for a moment. If you want to teach your kid to swim, suppose you have two options available. 1) You begin in shallow water, providing guidance, support and assistance when necessary; in essence, taking reasonable steps to minimize harm. 2) You drop the kid in deep water, then sit back and let the child fend for themselves; no guidance or help if they get into trouble. In both cases, there is a risk that something could go wrong and the child could be injured.

    Now, if the child is injured in the first case, would you say that the parent is negligent or not? How about in the second case? What are your reasons for answering how you do in each case?

  78. #78 Narad
    November 11, 2011

    Life is full of risk, we were not built to live forever, and it doesn’t appear that we were intended to live with no suffering.

    Intended? And, then, as efficient master of the household, it’s yours to distribute?

  79. #79 Chris
    November 11, 2011

    I thought he was leaving. Oh, well. He has gone far afield of the original topic, and really has no idea what he is talking about.

  80. #80 lilady
    November 11, 2011

    @ Ed: Perhaps you were unaware when you came to post here, that vaccine-preventable-diseases and anti-vaccination groups are a hot button issue here. Perhaps you were also unaware that some of the “regulars” here are doctors, nurses and “civilians” who are extremely-well educated in the science of immunology and medical epidemiology.

    I think you were interested in Orac’s blog because you have an open mind and I believe that you are on a journey toward educating yourself about health care issues. That being said, we do have a difference of opinion about intentionally infecting your child, which does constitute child abuse.

    Ed, I worked as a public health nurse in a County Health Department-Division of Communicable Disease Control. I know only too well the grief that parents felt, when they lost their child to a communicable vaccine-preventable-disease. I still weep about the loss of those children.

    I also have some experience with Child Protective Services…under State law I am a “mandatory reporter” of suspect incidences of child abuse or child neglect. The mailer of infectious material, or the recipient of infectious material, who share the intention of deliberately infecting a child, does constitutes abuse of child.

    Ed, I am also a bit (or more) older than you and have experienced personal loss as well. My childhood friend died 58 years ago from polio and my cousin was left with lifelong disabilities due to measles encephalopathy.

    “I don’t know who Laura is.” She’s a real anti-vax troll who leaves this blog “in a huff” (or “high dudgeon”)…whenever she is called out about her pseudoscience inane posts.

  81. #81 Chris
    November 11, 2011

    lilady:

    She’s a real anti-vax troll who leaves this blog “in a huff” (or “high dudgeon”)…whenever she is called out about her pseudoscience inane posts.

    And often returns in an hour or so.

  82. #82 lilady
    November 11, 2011

    @ Chris: Well, her two favorite fascist posters are online waiting for her…

  83. #83 ArtK
    November 11, 2011

    Ed H @264

    Ok, ok, just one more

    We should be so lucky.

    The “personal responsibility” mantra is great — until your personal irresponsibility affects others. Failing to vaccinate a child not only puts that child at risk for disease, it also reduces herd immunity. To the point where people (not just children) who cannot be immunized or for whom immunization is not possible, are at risk.

    You can “stick it to the man” and not wear your seat belt — just make sure you keep a shovel and a body bag in your car. When you get ejected from your car, it’s me (as a member of society) who’s going to have to pay to have you scraped off of the street. Or should we just leave people to rot if the choose to not wear seat belts?

    I want you to wear that seat belt because I don’t want to pay for your stupidity. It is not possible to live your life exactly as you wish, and not impact (negatively) other people.

  84. #84 Chris
    November 12, 2011

    ArtK:

    I want you to wear that seat belt because I don’t want to pay for your stupidity. It is not possible to live your life exactly as you wish, and not impact (negatively) other people.

    Which to me is secondary to the absolute human suffering those irresponsible actions cause.

    While it does cost the rest of us real money when those feel entitled to do their own thing end up as grease spots on the roadway or their kids become disease statistics… most of us are truly saddened by the consequences of those bad decisions.

    Every story on http://whatstheharm.net/index.html breaks my heart. Trying to mask bad choices with entitled libertarian rhetoric does not make it better.

  85. #85 lilady
    November 12, 2011

    Our resident “fire science expert” Sid Offal, has been bragging about his first radio interview…ever…on his Facebook Vaccine Machine website. He is all atwitter having scored a few lines in a newspaper commenting on the lollipop mailings and now his radio “debut”.

    A few of his Facebook pals actually listened to the broadcast and have complimented him. Offal, being the juvenile uneducated twit that he is, is lapping it up…probably thinking he’s the ingenue celebrity. So I went “slumming” at BBC Radio, to listen to it. He made of fool of himself, couldn’t make any cogent arguments and when he spoke about parents having the “right to refuse” immunizations, he evoked quite a response from a REAL expert who was also being interviewed (William Schaffner, M.D., Professor/Chairman-Department of Preventive Medicine, Vanderbilt University).

    Offal, trying to impress Dr. Schaffner, then discussed his “hygiene hypothesis” theory. I don’t think Dr. Schaffner was impressed.

    The radio broadcast (11-11-2011) is available on the BBC I-Player at:

    BBC-BBC Live Radio 5 Programmes-Up All Night

    Offal’s interview on this four hour program is at 1:16-1:25 into the “Up All Night” broadcast.

  86. #86 Renate
    November 12, 2011

    Ed,
    We were not intended to live without suffering, but we made some technological advancements, like vaccins, antibiotics and a whole lot more to reduce some suffering. So why not wanting a kid to have a vaccin, to reduce the chance of a disease, which might result in terrible side-effects, but use all the medical advancements to get the child better when it has gotten the disease. The later has a lot more costs, but perhaps you pay all those costs yourself, without the help of a health insurance. (I can’t imagine how it is, because I live in a country with a good public health system and I’m very glad I do.)

    Parents are responsible for a child, but as the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child.

  87. #87 Mrs. Woo
    November 12, 2011

    Since this isn’t too far off topic. Are there some good books about the immune system that an intelligent somewhat educated person could understand? Even possibly read this one first, this one second kind of list?

    Some of the allegations of the anti-vax have me wondering so I’d prefer reading rational texts based on what we know to develop a solid understanding of my own so I can “innoculate” myself from their rhetoric. 🙂

    Thank you so much in advance.

    Mrs. Woo

  88. #88 Edith Prickly
    November 12, 2011

    I would be interested in a reading list too. I read Trick or Treatment a while back(and now enjoy annoying my friends who are into lifestyle woo by pointing out they are wasting their money.) I have Pox: An American History on hold at the library, but I’d appreciate recommendations for other reading. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a biology class.

  89. #89 Th1Th2
    November 12, 2011

    Failing to vaccinate a child not only puts that child at risk for disease, it also reduces herd immunity.

    One striking difference between the unvaccinated and the vaccinated is that the latter is the only one doomed to develop shingles later in life. That means the vaccinated are also the first ones who get the chicken pox. Now you see the benefit of “failing to vaccinate”?

  90. #90 Luna_the_cat
    November 12, 2011

    If you are looking for a fast, straightforward, but reasonably technical intro to immunology, I would recommend the BIOS Instant Notes in Immunology book — they have a new edition out this year, by Lydyard, Whelan and Fanger. (I’m not linking because I don’t want this hung up in moderation, but you can find it quite easily on Amazon.)

  91. #91 Luna_the_cat
    November 12, 2011

    Thingy really lives in a world of his own, doesn’t he…

    I think we really are looking at some kind of mental illness here. I can’t think how it’s possible without mental illness of some sort, to be so stubbornly in opposition to simple, physical, and immensely easily checkable facts.

  92. #92 lilady
    November 12, 2011

    What Luna recommendeds is a good start. You might also want to read online, the first two chapters of the CDC Pink Book. Just hit the “ready to print PDF version”.

  93. #93 Th1Th2
    November 12, 2011

    Are there some good books about the immune system that an intelligent somewhat educated person could understand?[…]Some of the allegations of the anti-vax have me wondering so I’d prefer reading rational texts based on what we know to develop a solid understanding of my own so I can “innoculate” myself from their rhetoric. 🙂

    No not rhetoric, it’s called science. And it burns when you’re ignorant about it. You have to wonder why the provax keep on swirling around it but not getting near because if they did it would be a disaster. That’s why they enjoy themselves with a plethora of straw man, hypothetical situations and analogies for convenience. But I know it’s not gonna last. They will have to face the music sooner or later. Yeah you better keep reading.

  94. #94 lilady
    November 12, 2011

    @ Luna: We have already discussed Thingy’s “condition” extensively online.

    All of us believe it has some sort of serious mental disorder, may cycle in and out of the mental health system, probably refuses treatment and gets money from the government for its disability.

    It is also delusional about its education in medical science and has an “imaginary” job in a hospital.

    I’m quite comfortable talking ABOUT Thingy and its delusions, but otherwise ignore it…because it craves engagement. It usually goes away for a short period of time, when you ignore it.

  95. #95 Th1Th2
    November 12, 2011

    Luna the cat,

    That wasn’t a rebuttal. It’s just you talking to yourself.

  96. #96 Luna_the_cat
    November 12, 2011

    @lilady —

    Sorry, I was largely offline for much of the year, so obviously missed a lot of those discussions. I’m going to agree with your assessment, though.

  97. #97 Mrs. Woo
    November 12, 2011

    Thank you very much Luna_the_cat and lilady. I suspect lilady has a few guesses into some of the things that I’m more curious about. Would really love a chance to have discussions with you lilady…

    @Edith Prickly – I am currently reading that book and am enjoying it immensely. I have developed a love of history as I’ve gotten older and am always fascinated by human behavior. I was surprised that something like this would be a “page-turner,” but that is the best way to describe it.

    @Th1Th2 – since you were so offended by my statement – I often see (please understand there is a reason I am “Mrs.” Woo) things suggested by alternative medicine and when I go to further understand them when I finally get to some serious references they were either theories that were later disproven or that haven’t been proven yet that alternative practitioners have gone and run with because it fits their view of how things should be. OR they are treatments that are toxic when they are taken in strong enough doses to be effective, etc.

    If you believe there is a good reference for immunology that hasn’t been shared, please share it with me. Please understand I will be verifying its research and publication and comparing it against what I already understand about the human body. It has nothing to do with whether or not people on this forum disagree with you. Rather, it will give me insight into how you view things. I enjoy understanding what makes people tick and how they think.

    In the end I have no interest in supporting a specific approach over another, I merely want to understand as much as possible and know that I understand it correctly. The biggest thing is being sure as an individual that you aren’t being misled by blanket proclamations. For some reason those are very common in alternative medicine, which is why it always requires further investigation and understanding before finding any claim credible.

  98. #98 MI Dawn
    November 12, 2011

    @luna_the_cat: Hey! I thought you hadn’t been around much, but wondered if I was just missing your posts. Hope you are doing OK, and welcome back to the wonderful world of RI. The regulars are still around, lilady is “teh awesome” (and way better than me with links..) and the trolls are still trollish.

    Thingy, IIRC time wise, was only infesting SBM when last you posted on RI, and meandered over here several months ago. Since Orac is in Michigan, I’m going to snark that Thingy lives under the Ambassador Bridge. Little Augie (aka augustine) has been mostly gone, thankfully. Silly Sid Offal is still around.

    As far as Thingy goes, lilady is pretty right on about the lunacy, as is Chris. Thingy lives in its own world and, like Humpty Dumpty, words only mean what it wants them to mean (and they come around for their pay weekly).

  99. #99 MI Dawn
    November 12, 2011

    Oops…long comment just got put into moderation. Must have used a verboten word…

    Short version: welcome back, luna_the_cat. I’ve missed you.

  100. #100 Th1Th2bot
    November 12, 2011

    Yeah you better keep reading.

    Try this whole of lies: you don’t know that would be passing a different tune. You should only one coming soon, intravenous wrong tree. Fact is the fact is did not take on barking up for convenience.

    Haha, referring to answer.

  101. #101 alison
    November 12, 2011

    Mrs Woo – you might also enjoy At war within: the double-edged sword of immunity, by William R. Clark – not a text but a very engaging ‘popular’ book on the subjett (albeit a bit dated now; it would be cool if he’d do a new edition!)

  102. #102 Luna_the_cat
    November 12, 2011

    @MI Dawn — thank you, very much. 🙂 I don’t know how much I’ll be able to be around overall, but hopefully more than I have been.

  103. #103 ken
    November 12, 2011

    The unvaccinated are not always to blame for outbreaks-

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199407073310104#t=abstract

  104. #104 Luna_the_cat
    November 12, 2011

    Also, long version answer: it has been a very high-stress year, and just to keep things interesting my left descending artery decided that it would develop a habit of coronary spasm, which prompted a number of investigations. (Let me just say that I am actually very grateful for the NHS.) Life is still very high stress, and I still have about a million more things to do than I have time for (so, no change there, then) — so I do plead extenuating circumstances for prolonged absence. But, I do feel better than I did.

  105. #105 Chris
    November 12, 2011

    Ken, what makes you look even more silly is when you repeat your silliness again, and it looks like you did not even read the full paper.

    I answered you here. I suggest you read it. Also pay close attention to the herd immunity numbers at the end of the comment.

    And you should understand that pertussis is not the same as chicken pox.

  106. #106 Narad
    November 12, 2011

    The unvaccinated are not always to blame for outbreaks-

    Just by the by, ken, who’s the reservoir for pertussis?

  107. #107 ken
    November 12, 2011

    @Luna – maybe diet factors may help-

    The Preventive Effect of Magnesium on Coronary Spasm

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11115460

  108. #108 Prometheus
    November 12, 2011

    “ken” (#304):

    “The unvaccinated are not always to blame for outbreaks-“

    From his “drive-by” commenting technique, I’m pretty sure that “ken” isn’t interested in either debate or information, but I’ll give it a try.

    The 1994 (!?!) paper “ken” cites was about a 1993 pertussis outbreak in Cincinnati, Ohio in which the majority of the victims had been immunised according to the the-current recommendations (using the whole-cell vaccine). This was but one of several studies revealing that the pertussis vaccine was not as effective as previously thought and needed to be re-administered in the teen and adult years, just as was (much) earlier found with the tetanus vaccine.

    So, to correct “ken’s” interpretation of the study:

    “The unvaccinated are not always to blame for outbreaks – sometimes they are due to inadequate vaccination.”

    Fixed it for ya’, “ken”.

    Prometheus

  109. #109 lilady
    November 12, 2011

    I meant to say welcome back to our Luna…you were missed.

    Thank you Michele…but this techie-deficient poster does not know how to “actually link” to a website…(sigh).

    Getting back to Thingy and its “condition”…just peruse its postings on RI at “The “toxin gambit” on steroids and more” (October 13, 2011). We all had fun with Thingy; of course Th1Th2bot provided translations of Thingy’s postings as well.

    I’ll look for some (freebie) online educational material about immunology and vaccine-preventable diseases. Perhaps “Ren”, “Reuben” or another poster can look into this, as well.

  110. #110 Th1Th2
    November 12, 2011

    This is how more vaccinated persons get the disease than unvaccinated. Even if the infection rate was at 100%, there would still be more of the vaccinated getting the diseases because there are more of them!

    Chris is simply pointing out that vaccine failure is a common outcome of continued vaccination. Whereas this lack of vaccine efficacy and failure to protect the herd will only lead to the creation of the so called herd immunity (i.e. the vaccinated will get re-infected anyway, naturally), right Chris? But then again, Chris is not a smart and intelligent person to be able to understand real science. She still believes in myth like herd immunity.

  111. #111 Th1Th2bot
    November 12, 2011

    Now before you mean the baby must be absolutely no longer covered by subsequent reinfection promoters, even though not. You sound more like I. You say meet their Orac’s next topic, instead I know it’s a favor. You called herd immunity? Only as early as doubt a teen, you complaining?

    No loitering allowed. Your subjects first, straw man, and lack of goalpost?

  112. #112 lilady
    November 12, 2011

    @ ken: You already interjected diphtheria in your hit-and-run posting at # 239 above. I, in turn, replied to your diphtheria comment and provided some information to you. Why haven’t you replied to my questions that I posed at #243 above?:

    @ ken: The article you provided under “incidence” describes an epidemic of diphtheria in the former Soviet Union during the early 1990s. During this time of political upheaval, when vaccination rates plummeted, there were 150,000 cases. What do you think would happen in the USA, if the vaccination rates plummeted?

    The diphtheria vaccine first became available in 1923 in the USA. In 1921 there were 206,000 cases of diphtheria and 15,520 deaths from diphtheria. Diphtheria has a fatality rate of 5-10 % and up to 20 % fatality rate for the very young or elderly population that contracts the disease. ***So, Ken, what would be the number of cases and the number of deaths from diphtheria if the vaccination rate plummeted in 2011?

    ***1920 USA census total population 106 million and 2010 census total population 308 million (Wikipedia)

  113. #113 Th1Th2
    November 12, 2011

    This was but one of several studies revealing that the pertussis vaccine was not as effective as previously thought and needed to be re-administered in the teen and adult years, just as was (much) earlier found with the tetanus vaccine. “The unvaccinated are not always to blame for outbreaks – sometimes they are due to inadequate vaccination.”

    That’s laughable. So I have to believe that WC pertussis vaccine at some point was administered to teens and adults? The last time I checked the vaccine was replaced. Oh well, another dumb idea by the provax.

  114. #114 lilady
    November 12, 2011

    Please don’t feed delusional, uneducated, disease-promoting, health care career wannabe troll. It needs “terminal disinfection”.

  115. #115 Chris
    November 12, 2011

    Being unable to understand simple arithmetic is common among certain anti-science folks like Schecter, Ken, Thingy and others.

  116. #116 Th1Th2bot
    November 12, 2011

    That’s laughable.

    The inject not; needed right now that song before posting. Do you know your fallacious mama’s use therefore found in? The best time.

    From so is your self-recognition of equal importance at what you see. There. You.

  117. #117 Chris
    November 12, 2011

    Of course these are the same people who don’t know the difference between bacteria and virus.

  118. #118 lilady
    November 12, 2011

    @ Thingy bot: I find your “translations” very enlightening and make sense when compared to the gibberish of the troll. Please keep the bot generator operative.

    Chris, if you have time, listen to Offal’s radio debut on BBC Radio 5…it’s a hoot.

  119. #119 Heliantus
    November 12, 2011

    @ Mrs Woo, quite a way up

    “Troll” is an internet term (though you have to wonder about the under the bridge insinuation)

    OT, just for the sake of pedantry (yes, I’m a nerd).

    Initially, Troll was the name of big, ugly, dim-witted monsters from Scandinavian/Norse folklore. They were supposedly lurking at the outskirts of human civilization, frightening humans now and then, sometimes even eating them.
    I cannot pinpoint when, but it was later added to the lore that they are typically sheltering themselves under a bridge. Hence the bridge reference.
    More recently in the 60’s, Tolkien mentioned a few trolls in his Lord of the Ring saga, but only (AFAIK) petrified ones: his version of trolls cannot stand daylight and turns into stone upon exposition.
    In the following renewal of fantasy literature, more types of trolls come into play. Trolls are, after all, your all-purpose thuggish monster. A few of them, true to type, sleep under bridges or are light-sensitive, but not all.
    The Dungeons&Dragons version of the Troll is renowned for its self-regenerating feature. Wounds which would kill ordinary people are healed in a few minutes. Use fire to cauterize, or better, nuke them from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.

    In short, the Troll is a bogeyman whose objective in life is to ambush and bash people; it is very resilient (common facts, basic honesty and ordinary insults have no effect on it) but quite stupid (maybe on purpose, but that’s debatable).
    Unless you are carrying appropriate verbal weaponry, trolls are best left to themselves. Hence, rule 14 of the internet.

  120. #120 Mrs. Woo
    November 12, 2011

    Thank you very much, Heliantus for your expanded more concise definition. I still really believe (though I usually look on most of the world rather kindly) that Mr. Haslett was not deliberately trolling. Rather, he believed his point had valid consideration and was attempting to defend himself from what he felt were rather unwarranted attacks. Like I said, though, I often think the best of most people.

    Yup. Have to be very careful what I say here. Even not being concise enough about “troll” can get me in trouble?

    Thank you, Alison, for the other suggestion. I’ve wish-listed it on Amazon to track down later. I’m not sure how far the local library reaches to try to get inter-library loans. The last small town I lived in they shared with other libraries in the county and that was it, so I might have to spend ten bucks on a used copy. It looks like a fascinating read!

  121. #121 ArtK
    November 13, 2011

    @ Chris (284)

    Which to me is secondary to the absolute human suffering those irresponsible actions cause.

    I absolutely agree with you. I expressed myself the way that I did because Ed strikes me as one of those people who doesn’t give a crap about human suffering (except perhaps his own.) If it doesn’t have an economic impact then it doesn’t matter. Even if he doesn’t identify himself as a Randian, he sounds a lot like one.

  122. #122 Prometheus
    November 14, 2011

    Ed Haslett (#264):

    “Kids are born to parents, not the state or fed. Parents are responsible for those kids until they are ~18. Now there are a few folks that treat their kids very badly, and there must be laws in a society to deal with that, our point of disagreement is where the line is drawn.”

    I’m not a lawyer or a Child Protective Services worker, but I think that where the line gets drawn is pretty clear. Parents in the US are given control of their children and are allowed to raise them without “interference” unless and until the parents are no longer looking out for the best interests of the child.

    In my day, that “line” was drawn at physical abuse that left scars, broke bones or caused internal damage. Today, the line is somewhere else. Parents are (currently) allowed to give their children whatever medical care they feel is best (up to and including not vaccinating them) unless that medical care is [a] not up to the “reasonable person” standard (i.e. what a “reasonable person” would do in similar circumstances) AND [b] the child is harmed (or is in clear danger of being harmed in the near future).

    That means you can refuse to vaccinate your child, can treat their asthma with chiropractic and their appendicitis with prayer and – as long as they don’t come to any harm – “the state” can’t do anything about it (note: refusing to let your unvaccinated child attend public school without a signed “exemption” from the parents is not “compulsory vaccination”).

    Let your “unreasonable” care lead to injury or death, however, and “the state” will have plenty to do with your parental rights (not to mention where you will be living for the next five to ten years).

    And, though it may not seem “fair”, if you do the “reasonable” thing and take your asthmatic child to a doctor who makes a mistake that kills your child, you have not committed child abuse (although the doctor may well have).

    I “get” the whole libertarian agenda – people don’t like being forced to do what’s “good for them” and it sucks to have to wear a helmet to ride a motorcycle (although I certainly would – I wear one to ride a bicycle). Some states have repealed their helmet laws in response to such complaints. However, with more and more people realising that they’re “on the hook” (via Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance premiums) for treating a motorcycle rider in a persistent vegetative state after an accident, I suspect that argument will garner less support.

    The fact of the matter is that society has become too interconnected for someone to legitimately claim that their poor choices only affect themselves, even if you limit that to financial impacts. It may well come to people being fined for obesity or skydiving – I hope not. But the “I am only hurting myself” argument doesn’t hold water anymore.

    As for the “harmless childhood disease” that “we all (over 25) have had” (i.e. chickenpox), not only do children die from that disease, but anyone who has had chickenpox can potentially develop “shingles” if they live long enough. When there was no vaccine for chickenpox (when I had it, for instance), there wasn’t any alternative – you got chickenpox, preferrably when you were a child, and you took your chances.

    Now, with the vaccine, children have the chance to not only miss out on a “harmless childhood ilness” that still kills a hundred or more children a year, but also miss out on chickenpox’s nasty sequel: “Shingles”. At this point in time, it’s starting to look a bit like cruelty to let a child get infected with wild-type chickenpox and have that threat hanging over them the rest of their life.

    Is it child abuse? Not yet, perhaps, but the “reasonable person” standard is always in flux, responding to what “reasonable people” think is the best thing to do. It may move that far some day; it may not. Having seen “shingles”, however, and loving my children, I would get them vaccinated (youngest was, oldest got chickenpox before the vaccine was available).

    Prometheus

  123. #123 Todd W.
    November 14, 2011

    Anecdota time: the husband of a friend recently had a bout of shingles. He required prescriptions to control the pain and very nearly lost one of his eyes.

  124. #124 LW
    November 14, 2011

    “It may well come to people being fined for obesity or skydiving”

    Obesity, perhaps, but skydiving? Are there very many *non-fatal* accidents in skydiving?

  125. #125 Th1Th2
    November 14, 2011

    Now, with the vaccine, children have the chance to not only miss out on a “harmless childhood ilness” that still kills a hundred or more children a year, but also miss out on chickenpox’s nasty sequel: “Shingles”.

    That is a whole bunch of lie. It’s very clear these infection promoters are very ignorant about human immunology and childhood diseases. How could the vaccinated miss out the shingles when latent infection is a consequence of primary varicella vaccination?

    Prometheus go home and educate yourself before posting anything stupid. You can never win an argument with deliberate disinformation.

    And you being an infection promoter is NOT a reasonable person would do.

  126. #126 Th1Th2bot
    November 14, 2011

    That is a whole bunch of lie.

    Here’s the one is done. I don’t to humans, no.

    And those are you only if you played it was only happens when most people were exposed to the matter: me. This thread is something not given have or that myth, no those vaccine. You have heard any antigen specific antibodies? Most people were inoculated with a point.

    I started no loitering allowed; differentials. It’s easy to lose. You consider yourself a different.

  127. #127 lilady
    November 14, 2011

    @ Thingy bot: Thank you for that explanation…it makes much more sense than anything the delusional, disease-promoting, uneducated, health care professional wannabe troll has posted.

  128. #128 Calli Arcale
    November 14, 2011

    LW:

    Are there very many *non-fatal* accidents in skydiving?

    Slightly OT, but yes. It’s not that unusual to sprain or fracture an ankle in a bad landing, and certainly bruises and muscle strains are commonplace. (I am not a skydiver, and never will be — I can barely tolerate climbing a ladder — but I paid attention to the safety briefing my brother attended on his one skydiving experience.) And there have been some pretty freakish accidents as well — the story of a group of parasailers who got sucked up into a thunderstorm’s rising air current in Australia is pretty harrowing. Some of them died, mainly of hypothermia and oxygen deprivation at extreme altitude. At least one of them did survive to tell the tale.

  129. #129 WMDKitty
    November 15, 2011

    Is anyfur really surprised by this? I’m not — it’s exactly the kind of thing anti-vax nutters would do, just to “save” their cubs the “risks” of getting vaxxed. (And, OF COURSE vaccines are risky! BREATHING is risky!)

    Anywho, seems like we’re mostly in agreement that these “parents” are Doing It Wrong. (And for the wrong reasons, too.)

    Anyfur know how old you have to be to get the shingles vaxx? I’d like to avoid that beastly little “after-effect” of Teh Pox.

  130. #130 lilady
    November 15, 2011

    @ WMDKitty: The herpes zoster (shingles) vaccine was first licensed in 2006 and recommended for persons age 60 years and older. At the time of licensing, there was a provision in the ACIP recommendations to expand the age downward (ages 50-59), in 2011.

    There has been a shortage of the vaccine due to manufacturing difficulties according to the MMWR (November 11, 2001 issue); the “expansion” downward in age eligibility will not be implemented until there is more availability of the vaccine.

    See the entire article “Update on Herpes Zoster Vaccine Licensure For Persons age 50 Through 59 Years” at the MMWR website.

  131. #131 lilady
    November 15, 2011

    Drat…The MMWR issue I referred to is last week’s, dated November 11, 2011

  132. #132 ed haslett
    November 15, 2011

    @Prometheus: I am unclear, the reading I have done indicates that shingles is still a possiblity if you have been vaccinated against cp. Do you/anyone know the final answer?

  133. #133 lurker
    November 15, 2011

    @ed haslett

    “Zoster (shingles) is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), the cause of chickenpox. The VZV virus—which remains in the nerve cells for life after chickenpox or after the chickenpox vaccine—may reappear as shingles in later life, particularly in the elderly and those who are immunocompromised. This is because of declining immunity to the VZV virus over time. Thus, anyone who has had chicken pox or the chickenpox live virus vaccine is at risk for developing shingles. While shingles can occur at any age, the risk increases as people get older. ”

    http://www.immunizationinfo.org/vaccines/shingles-herpes-zoster

  134. #134 lurker
    November 15, 2011

    Any volunteers for taking the adult equivalent of 26 vaccine doses for an infant under
    one year of age?

  135. #135 Lawrence
    November 15, 2011

    Every day & twice on Sunday – Mr. Lurker.

  136. #136 lilady
    November 15, 2011

    @ lurker: Make mine doubles and four times on Sundays.

  137. #137 Narad
    November 15, 2011

    Any volunteers for taking the adult equivalent of 26 vaccine doses for an infant under one year of age?

    If using the typical antivax arithmetic, I suppose I’ve had 32 in the past couple of years.

  138. #138 Th1Th2
    November 15, 2011

    lurker,

    Your response in #333 is already an irrefutable fact against these infection promoters however your follow up question in #334 is loose and open to straw man fanatics. Just look at them.

  139. #139 Th1Th2bot
    November 15, 2011

    Your response in #333 is already an irrefutable fact against these infection promoters however your follow up question in #334 is loose and open to straw man fanatics. Just look at them.

    The straw man. You are an essential to infection promoters, like I see. I started, no further question is justifiable. Your hypothetical situation is that these infection; chicken or Trabant.

    Haha. I answer the naive with this I guess not rhetoric, it’s very certain whose antibodies only if this claim that the naive antibody in diagnostic criteria that individual is safe: done.

  140. #140 lilady
    November 15, 2011

    @ ed haslett: You do realize, don’t you, that the full impact of decreasing incidence, severity and post herpetic nerve pain associated with shingles, from early childhood immunization with the varicella vaccine, is being studied? And, that studies will not be completed until these children get older…when they would be at risk for shingles…from either the actual disease or the preventive varicella immunization. The varicella vaccine was first licensed by the FDA in 2005 for use in healthy children ages 12 month-12 years.

    The herpes zoster (shingles) vaccine when administered to older people has been studied and according to this abstract (Pubmed 20104941):

    “Individuals who have been infected with varicella zoster virus (VZV) are at risk for developing herpes zoster and this risk appears to be related to a decline in VZV-specific cell-mediated immunity (CMI). Zostavax (zoster vaccine) is a one-dose, high-potency, live, attenuated VZV vaccine that boosts VZV-specific CMI and this is its presumed mechanism of action. Zoster vaccine is registered in the EU for use in adults aged >or=50 years for the prevention of herpes zoster and herpes zoster-related postherpetic neuralgia. In the Shingles Prevention Study, a placebo-controlled trial in adults aged >or=60 years (n = 38 546), zoster vaccine led to a sustained boost of VZV-specific CMI. Over a mean herpes zoster surveillance period of 3.1 years, zoster vaccine reduced the herpes zoster-related burden of illness by 61%, reduced the incidence of herpes zoster by 51% and reduced the incidence of postherpetic neuralgia by 67%. Zoster vaccine recipients who developed herpes zoster had a shorter illness duration and severity than placebo recipients who developed herpes zoster. Zoster vaccine had continuing efficacy in a Shingles Prevention Study subpopulation followed for 7 years post-vaccination. Zoster vaccine was generally well tolerated in older adults. While cost-effectiveness estimates in pharmacoeconomic analyses varied widely according to vaccine and herpes zoster parameter cost/benefit estimates, an analysis from a UK perspective found a zoster vaccine immunization programme in adults aged 65 years to be cost effective. In older adults, the zoster vaccine has the potential to significantly reduce the herpes zoster burden of illness by decreasing the incidence of herpes zoster or reducing its severity.”

  141. #141 lilady
    November 15, 2011

    @ Thingy bot: Thank you for that explanation…it makes much more sense than anything the delusional, disease-promoting, uneducated, health care professional wannabe troll has posted.

  142. #142 Th1Th2
    November 15, 2011

    Of course lilady as usual has no idea what she’s talking about (being completely inept in immunology). She’s merely stating a fact that those who were not inoculated with the etiologic agent VZV will never suffer chicken pox and shingles later in life. So where’s the risk of shingles among the unvaccinated? Only in lilady’s wildest imagination.

    How fortunate are the unvaccinated and uninfected.

  143. #143 Th1Th2bot
    November 15, 2011

    How fortunate are the unvaccinated and uninfected.

    Just wait for thirst: comparing this thread is not aware. The vaccinated is your not prevent shingles, is uninfected mothers to natural infection promoter. Therefore, the latter is.

    And this is did say exposed a joke. Duh.

  144. #144 lilady
    November 15, 2011

    @ Thingy bot: Thank you for that explanation…it makes much more sense than anything the delusional, disease-promoting, uneducated, health care professional wannabe troll has posted.

    It needs “terminal disinfection”.

  145. #145 Prometheus
    November 15, 2011

    LW,

    Good point – I was thinking more along the lines of the families left behind needing governmental supports, not the medical care of the skydiver. Of course, as Callie Arcale pointed out, there can be non-fatal injuries with skydiving, if the parachute opens.

    Ed Haslett,

    There are a number of case reports of reactivated vaccine strain herpes zoster (chickenpox vaccine); it is too early to tell if the incidence will be as high as that seen in the wild-type virus.

    One thing that is significantly different about the vaccine-strain virus – according to animal studies – is that it doesn’t cause the destruction of dorsal root ganglion neurons that is seen with the wild-type virus. It is this neuron damage that causes the chronic pain seen after wild-type herpes zoster (shingles) reactivations.

    Interestingly, vaccinating older adults who had wild-type varicella (chickenpox) infections in their youth has been shown to significantly reduce the incidence of shingles.

    Prometheus

  146. #146 Th1Th2
    November 16, 2011

    One thing that is significantly different about the vaccine-strain virus – according to animal studies – is that it doesn’t cause the destruction of dorsal root ganglion neurons that is seen with the wild-type virus. It is this neuron damage that causes the chronic pain seen after wild-type herpes zoster (shingles) reactivations.

    [Citation needed]

    Interestingly, vaccinating older adults who had wild-type varicella (chickenpox) infections in their youth has been shown to significantly reduce the incidence of shingles.

    How?

  147. #147 Gray Falcon
    November 16, 2011

    Don’t bother with Th1Th2:

    It’s easy to see you’re in a bargaining stage. Sorry but you can’t turn back time. It’s a tragedy to have an autistic child, not a blessing. Nobody wants to have an autistic child. You should be blamed for everything but you were in denial for a long time. You’re just digging yourself deeper into the hole. Learn from your mistakes. Sorry, but there’s no second chance. Poor kiddo.

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/05/the_2011_measles_outbreak_and_vaccines_i.php#comment-4065513

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