Respectful Insolence

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 Jean Mercer
    November 5, 2011

    I have to wonder whether this is a matter of saying “my folks did it this way, and I’m all right” (although the speaker is not necessarily so “all right”). Many forms of child abuse, including hot-saucing and withholding of food, were common disciplinary techniques in past generations and may seem acceptable to people who have heard their parents and grandparents speak of them.

    Deliberately exposing children to chickenpox was common before vaccination was available. Anyone who has seen the course of this illness even in its mild form will know why parents (especially working mothers) would want some control over the timing of what might be inevitable– we’re talking about possibly ten days out of school, and the unlikeliness of getting a babysitter to care for a contagious child.

    Naturally I don’t present this history as a rationale for failing to vaccinate, but given that some parents are avoiding vaccination, there are reasons why they may regard intentional infection as acceptable because it’s what Grandma did.

  2. #2 Ren
    November 5, 2011

    From the Washington Post:

    Prosecutor warns parents wary of vaccines: Mailing chickenpox so kids develop immunity illegal

    *No opinion here on public health, just a fact.*

  3. #3 Mara
    November 5, 2011

    I…they…but…

    THEY’RE DELIBERATELY PUTTING VIRUSES IN THE MAIL???

    I’m sorry for the capslock, I just…I’m having trouble coming up with words for this. I mean, it’s bad enough when they’re doing pox parties and I absolutely agree that that’s child abuse.

    But they’re deliberately putting infectious substances into envelopes and sending them through the mail without a single one of the necessary precautions. I want these people arrested. That’s both illegal and bloody dangerous.

    These people are INSANE. ABSOLUTELY INSANE.

  4. #4 Denice Walter
    November 5, 2011

    Seriously, I got measles the old-fashioned way….

    And while we’re on the topic of child abuse and public endangerment it appears that the Geiers and their pr engine ( CoMeD) have a new surrogate making the rounds of woo-news outlets ( NaturalNews; ProgressiveRadioNetwork; RS Bell): he is Brian Hooker,PhD, and I’m sure that his articles about mercury will be circulating around FaceBook, blogs, websites, yoga studios, and vitamin shops like the pox they truly are.

  5. #5 Vincent Iannelli, MD
    November 5, 2011

    It’s amazing to me that many parents won’t let their kids touch the handle of a grocery store shopping cart and others would let them eat a used lollipop they got from a stranger on Facebook.

  6. #6 Mu
    November 5, 2011

    I can’t think of a better way of loosing a custody battle than infecting my kids from a “pox package”. Irrational doesn’t even come close to cover this.

  7. #7 Chris
    November 5, 2011

    Except, Dr. Mercer, infecting by having a child near a sick child is completely different than passing on bodily fluids. There are so many more risks, like other microbes that could grow on the moist rag or sugary lollipop.

    I just finished reading Pox: An American History. Before modern microbiology the process to get enough vaccinia to immunize a group often carried risks. At one time using serial vaccination from one child to another passed on syphilis, and another time a batch of vaccine used in the early 20th century causes several deaths due to tetanus.

    The latter was the reason for some of the first pharmaceutical safety regulations: 1902 Biologics Control Act.

    What these parents are doing is going back to the bad ol’ days. Instead of using a well regulated and safe vaccine, they are going back to the 19th century method of serially infecting children. With the added bonus of possibly infecting others without their knowledge or consent.

  8. #8 TheBlackCat
    November 5, 2011

    “I have to wonder whether this is a matter of saying “my folks did it this way, and I’m all right” (although the speaker is not necessarily so “all right”)”

    Of course that is the case…you don’t get to hear from the ones who are “not alright”.

  9. #9 Chris
    November 5, 2011

    Ugh, yet another comment in moderation. Short version:

    Read Pox: An American History, and look up the 1902 Biologics Control Act.

  10. #10 peggy
    November 5, 2011

    Surely this is a well worn theme in this blog, but that mild chicken pox (I still remember the itching and have scars) gave me shingles 50 years later.

  11. #11 Chris
    November 5, 2011

    Exactly, peggy. My kids went through two weeks of pure torture. Especially my daughter who was a six month old baby, all she could do was cry and shake her head. She had been sleeping through the night, but could not when she got chicken pox from one of her brothers a year before the vaccine was available.

    I am of the opinion that those who want children to become sick on purpose are just sadistic.

    (and right now she is putting herself in a self imposed torture by retaking the SAT to improve her score, I think she wants a better score than the brother who gave her chicken pox)

  12. #12 Pinkamena, Panic Pony
    November 5, 2011

    I don’t understand why everypony is so surprised by this. I mean, these parents are already criminally negligent in addition to being morally bankrupt; why not take that next step and do something outright illegal?

    On the way home from work a couple days ago, I saw a sign outside a Walgreens; it said, “Shingles Vaccine Available Here”. Given the stories I’ve read on the posts about this, I want to go get it just to be sure, since I had a rather memorable CP infection. Am I wrong?

  13. #13 Mutant Dragon
    November 5, 2011

    This is absolute insanity. Words fail me. I really really really really really don’t understand these people.

  14. #14 hematophage
    November 5, 2011

    It’s my understanding that pre-vaccine pox parties were an attempt to expose a kid while he or she was young, as the older you were when you got it, the more likely you were to have complications. So for most parents, it was wholly an attempt to mitigate the effects of the disease and cause their kid to go through as little suffering as possible.

    So, uh, it seems these parents have lost sight of the whole POINT of pox parties, and would prefer their kids suffer needlessly.

  15. #15 peggy
    November 5, 2011

    link to Bill Gates on vaccines
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2011/11/02/the-second-coming-of-bill-gates/
    Same issue of Forbes ranks him as richest person in the world.

  16. #16 Denice Walter
    November 5, 2011

    I feel that I ever so *slightly* understand them:

    they are frightened by vaccines’ “dangerous” toxic ingredients and “ability” to “cause” chronic illness
    but aren’t afraid of complications of childhood illnesses;
    they mistrust “establishment” information, institutions, and medical personnel
    however they believe any over-the-top fear mongering and wish fulfilling fantasy that con artists throw at them;
    they believe that they somehow have the “one-up” on the bulk of humdrum consensus following drones
    while despising know-it-all, too snarky or too wonky (choose one) over-educated elitists;
    they do not comprehend the irrationality of this intricately intertwined set of beliefs.

  17. #17 LW
    November 5, 2011

    The chickenpox vaccine is a live virus. So, if I’m concerned about the risk of my child being harmed by a known live virus, of known (very low) virulence, administered by a known, licensed, trained professional, I should avoid that risk by deliberately exposing my child to an unknown live virus (probably chickenpox, but maybe not) of unknown but higher virulence provided to me by an unknown person on the Internet.

    That isn’t irrational.

    That is insane.

  18. #18 Wildlife
    November 5, 2011

    It’s as wrong to exterminate a virus as it is to exterminate all your Ox.

    One day, one of these viruses will mutate and will actually upgrade our bodies in a really cool way that only evolution can pull off.

    We wouldn’t be where we are today (male and female) without the threat of viruses to spur us on, and we won’t get to where we’re going without the help of viruses either.

    We will never achieve in a lab what can be achieved sooner or later with a larger or smaller ‘playing field’ with the viruses.

    Forward-looking people realise this. Why cling to the past? Scream if you wanna go faster!

    Looking at the positives. If you can’t get a guy with hair or a job, get a guy with scabs. At least you’ll know he’s survived something dangerous at least once in his life. Maybe half your relatives died of varicella and you want to have kids with a bit more immunity? How else can a girl know for sure? x

  19. #19 Narad
    November 5, 2011

    I do like that Wendy Werkit (really?) was charging for the service in finest “shipping and handling fee” tradition.

    Reminds me of back when I was still able to tolerate reading MDC, where I encountered this use of the mails several years ago.

  20. #20 Caroline
    November 5, 2011

    When my daughter got a case of mild “breakthrough” chickenpox despite having been vaccinated, I took my pediatrician’s advice and did everything I could to avoid exposing her to at risk populations- I didn’t take her anyplace where their could be unvaccinated babies, elderly, or immunocompromised people-which pretty much meant she couldn’t go anywhere or have visitors for a week.
    Has anyone seen the latest post on AoA? It’s just as chilling as reading about pox parties. It seems now that the **rabies** vaccine causes autism and is now bad, too. That’s right, parents, if your kid is bitten by a wild/infected animal, better forgo the vaccine and take the risk of your kid suffering and almost certainly dying from a horrible disease, rather than have them possibly regress into autism, which to the anti-vaxxers at AoA is a worse fate!

  21. #21 Devious Soybeans
    November 5, 2011

    The FB page hasn’t been taken down yet, for anybody interested in exposing themselves to some burning stupidity first-hand. Gotta love the latest wall post:

    It seems like those who are concerned about this method of immunity do not understand how the vaccine actually works… ?? You do realize that the vaccine sheds the live chicken pox virus for up to 6 weeks after the injection? (That means they are contagious and dangerous to newborns or those that are immune compromised.) The varicella (pox) vaccine is currently given at 12 months, 5 years and 14 years. So each time a child has the shot, they are a ‘walking party’ all on their own. You do know this, right? It is right in the vaccine insert. We are being called dangerous but your shot is the one spreading the pox…. hence, why our page is most active right after school starts up and all of the children and teens get their boosters.

    So it’s the vaccine spreading the pox! They’re just…helping, I guess? WTF?

  22. #22 Sid Offit
    November 5, 2011

    No comment on the mailing issue but as to chickenpox parties being child abuse, that’s silly. It’s the same as vaccinating: you’re “hurting” or causing a child some discomfort to avoid greater discomfort at a later time. With widespread forced vaccination however it’s probably unnecessary today. In a world without forced vaccination and a realistic possibility of catching chickenpox, it might be better to actively pursue them while young. On the other hand if I came from a long line of immunocompromised individuals – like so many who post here – for whom the chickenpox causes great suffering, the vaccine might be the better choice.

  23. #23 Pareidolius
    November 5, 2011

    Forbes says Gates is the richest man in the U.S. not the world, that distinction belongs to a Mexican telecom magnate who beats him by about twenty billion. So, are you implying that because Gates is the King of the 1%, his stance on vaccination is somehow wrong? Or could it be because of his almost slavish allegiance to Lord Draconis?

  24. #24 Viking Warrior Princess
    November 5, 2011

    What is wrong with these people? I’ve heard a lot of stupid things this week but this takes the cake. Seriously what is wrong with these people.
    Next time someone asks why I have no faith in humanity I’ll just show them this piece of insanity.

  25. #25 Rukymoss
    November 5, 2011

    I’m old enough (59) to have had everything except rubella the “natural way”. I ended up (as did my younger brother) with what was called “black measles”–looking back on this, I suspect I had thrombocytopenia, with petechiae and purpura. I missed the last three weeks of fifth grade, was delirious and hallucinating for 3 or 4 days, and lost a lot of weight from being too sick to eat or keep anything down.
    Mumps and chickenpox weren’t as bad–except that I’ve had two episodes of shingles, with severe pain. I was hiking in the wilderness in Maine with the second episode and had to hitch a ride back to a town for medical care. The guy who gave me a lift was on immunosuppressive drugs for rheumatoid arthritis. Fortunately, by the time I had hiked far enough to find a road and a ride, the blisters had already dried up and crusted over, otherwise he would have been at risk himself, just for helping me out. There are more and more immune-suppressing drugs being used these days–how long till someone gets seriously ill from being exposed to a deliberately infected kid?

  26. #26 laura
    November 5, 2011

    People who give pox parties are crazy.

  27. #27 barracuda
    November 5, 2011

    Unreal. You take a lollipop from a kid’s mouth, put it in a sealed moist environment, send it through what are probably pretty warm conditions, pull it out, and put it in the mouth of a different child to see if they catch anything?

    Why not just call it “bacteria roulette?” I can go scrape some coughdrops off a sidewalk if that will help…

  28. #28 Antaeus Feldspar
    November 5, 2011

    No comment on the mailing issue but as to chickenpox parties being child abuse, that’s silly. It’s the same as vaccinating: you’re “hurting” or causing a child some discomfort to avoid greater discomfort at a later time. With widespread forced vaccination however it’s probably unnecessary today. In a world without forced vaccination and a realistic possibility of catching chickenpox, it might be better to actively pursue them while young. On the other hand if I came from a long line of immunocompromised individuals – like so many who post here – for whom the chickenpox causes great suffering, the vaccine might be the better choice.

    Well, kudos for you for at least recognizing that there are circumstances where the vaccine is the better choice. That’s some sense, at least. However, the rest of your points don’t make sense.

    * What these parents are doing is not “the same as vaccinating,” anymore than giving your kid a good slug of whiskey, grabbing your workbench drill, and excavating any spots you think you see in their teeth is “the same as” letting a trained dentist clean out the child’s cavities. One is being done according to professional standards that have been developed over decades, standards that have been refined over time to increase the efficacy of the procedure and reduce any risk from it. The other is a dramatic illustration of the Dunning-Kruger effect: someone who says “of course I know what I’m doing!” not because they actually know what they’re doing but because they don’t even have the competence to recognize competence. You’d better believe it’s child abuse for these parents to be playing amateur-specialist-in-infectious-diseases.

    * Your other point, skipping over the usual blather about “widespread forced vaccination” which you know by now to be false, amounts to your usual refrain “The low incidence of these diseases in the wild means I don’t have to take any individual responsibility for preventing the spread of disease; why, if I choose to, I can even choose to deliberately spread disease through mailing of pox! That’s a freedom afforded to me by the fact that the incidence of these diseases is and will always remain low!” The flaw in your argument, as always, is that the incidence of these diseases will not “always remain low,” especially not if you succeed in convincing others to join you in your carelessness, and especially not if people deliberately go out trying to infect each other with the wild virus! Honestly, Sid, if you were to be consistent in your views, you’d be with us in opposing these pox parties and pox packages: you keep telling us that you can afford to deprive your children of the protection of vaccination because the disease is so rare in the wild. These people are trying to keep the disease circulating in the wild. Why are you supporting them as they try to destroy what you keep claiming is what keeps you safe?

  29. #29 QoB
    November 5, 2011

    I agree with #14 – chickenpox parties were a fairly logical thing to do when the vaccine wasn’t available. They’re still common here – Ireland – because the chickenpox vaccine isn’t part of the routine vaccination program http://www.immunisation.ie/en/ChildhoodImmunisation/PrimaryImmunisationSchedule/. A friend of mine wished her mother had taken her to one when she caught it in her mid-twenties and was sick for nearly a month.
    But when a vaccine is available, that is bizarre.

  30. #30 Bruce of Canuckistan
    November 5, 2011

    I knew there would come a point where it’d be justifiable to put some of the anti-vax cranks in jail, and put their kids in the hands of social services. This is it. Hopefully the FBI was paying attention, and is working with facebook to track them down.

    In fact I would suggest that the next time skeptics reading this site catch idiots like this in action, take screenshots of the page and forward them to the FBI immediately, follow up with a phone call to get their attention, and then give them a few days to investigate before posting to skeptics blogs and thus warning the perps. These people are criminals and child abusers, sociopaths spreading disease, and should be treated as such.

  31. #31 Narad
    November 5, 2011

    These people are criminals and child abusers, sociopaths spreading disease, and should be treated as such.

    Time to warm up the bot, I suppose.

  32. #32 cloudyday
    November 5, 2011

    Idiocracy. In time, we will all be mailing herpes to each other because we will be too lazy to fornicate and too stupid to recognize the problem.

  33. #33 Andreas Johansson
    November 5, 2011

    So, realistically, what’ll happen to one of these parents if one of these lovely packages is catched by one of those post inspection types America seems so well supplied with? Are we talking years in jail? A stern talking to?

  34. #34 Tiktaalik
    November 5, 2011

    I got chickenpox in 1975 when I was 13 and it was awful, by far the worst childhood disease I got, and I got a lot of them. I lived in a summer house without indoor plumbing at the time and was so weak I had to rest several times on the way out to the outhouse each time. High fever for days; I don’t even remember the pox because I was too sick to notice. If I had found out my parents had deliberately exposed me to something that made me that sick, I would never have forgiven them. Getting it by accident is one thing; purposefully giving it to your kid is another. It’s no joke, and now I work closely with someone who has shingles. Get your kids the vaccine, already!

  35. #35 Matthew Cline
    November 5, 2011

    peggy:

    Surely this is a well worn theme in this blog, but that mild chicken pox (I still remember the itching and have scars) gave me shingles 50 years later.

    The chicken pox vaccine, being a live vaccine, can cause shingles, but at a lower rate than the wild type, and causing less pain. This is known since kids can get shingles after a chicken pox infection, but at a very low rate.

    (I’d provide a source for that, but unfortunately I forgot to bookmark the page and I can’t find it again with Google)

  36. #36 Matthew Cline
    November 5, 2011

    Aha, here’s the source for my previous comment:

    Can the vaccine cause herpes zoster (shingles)?

    Yes, this is possible. The risk of zoster following vaccination appears to be less than that following infection with the varicella virus. The majority of cases of shingles following vaccine have been mild and have not been associated with serious complications.

  37. #37 SocraticGadfly
    November 5, 2011

    The feds now are speaking on the issue, warning against it, etc. They said that it’s highly doubtful live chickenpox could be transmitted that way, BUT … they ARE worried about hepatitis! (And, on one TV station, supposedly one woman was trying to do this with measles.) http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/prosecutor-warns-parents-wary-of-vaccines-mailing-chickenpox-so-kids-develop-immunity-illegal/2011/11/04/gIQAgje9mM_story.html

  38. #38 Sauceress
    November 5, 2011

    Washington Post: Prosecutor warns parents wary of vaccines: Mailing chickenpox so kids develop immunity illegal

    Jerry Martin, U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee…

    Sending the lollipops would be illegal under the same law that makes it illegal to mail contagions like anthrax. He said a conviction could lead to a sentence from less than a year to 20 years in prison.

    Let’s hope we actually see some of that!

  39. #39 Reuben
    November 5, 2011

    Sid Robert Offit Schecter, if vaccines are being forced upon the people, can you show us your scars from where they held you down and forcefully vaccinated you? Is your teenage daughter vaccinated? No? They force everyone but you, right? ‘Cause you see the truth and the rest of us sheep don’t.

    Laughable.

  40. #40 Narad
    November 5, 2011

    Let’s hope we actually see some of that!

    Crunchy warrior mommies, I would suppose, tend to make for low-value prosecution targets. Of course, there’s always the specter of their true bête noire, supervision by child protective services.

  41. #41 Sauceress
    November 5, 2011

    ..there is a post from a parent looking for measles…

    Also mumps and rubella, according to the kpho story on the CBS 5 investigation: “CBS 5 producers found others asking for more dangerous pathogens.Two people on the Facebook page were looking for measles, mumps, and rubella.”

  42. #42 Lawrence
    November 5, 2011

    There is no difference between sending one type of pathogen via the USPO (like chicken pox) and another (like anthrax) – the USPS takes things like this very seriously, especially after what happened in DC in 2001 (during the anthrax letter attacks). Given that there is always the chance the a package could be opened accidentally or delivered to the wrong address, there is no reason in the world not to crack down on this swiftly, decisively & put some people in prison.

    I can’t believe anyone would condone this (even our resident Sid Troll).

  43. #43 Narad
    November 5, 2011

    So, anyway, the relevant code is 18 U.S.C. § 1716, which is kind of a hoot in and of itself. The penalties come after the prohibition on “infernal machines,” the live-scorpion exemption, and the cosmetologist loophole for sending poisionous drugs and medications.

    [Side note: Illinois law explicitly shields podiatrists from liability in case of nuclear attack.]

  44. #44 Narad
    November 5, 2011

    ^ poisonous

  45. #45 Don't Touch
    November 5, 2011

    As much as I am appalled at these “pox parties”, I can think of one thing worse than this: “AIDS parties.”

    If somehow parents start to believe that AIDS is like a cold, or if/when an HIV/AIDS vaccine comes out and that the vaccine is too ‘toxic’, I fear for all of humanity…

  46. #46 Raincitygirl
    November 5, 2011

    You know, I had chickenpox the old fashioned way when I was about 11. I had no complications whatsoever, but it was still a good two weeks of misery. My younger sister had it at the same time I did (she was about 8). She got better faster than I did, but was sicker than me, at one point having a dangerously high fever. Given that a family friend had suffered severe brain damage following a very high fever in childhood, I remember being pretty terrified the same thing would happen to my sis (who was a brat, but I still didn’t want her to have brain damage).

    In retrospect, I doubt her fever was ever high enough for that to be a realistic concern (she was nearly hospitalized, but not quite), but I was 11 years old and not that great at distinguishing a realistic threat from an unrealistic one! Between the physical illness and the worry, those were an awesome few weeks. Oddly enough, my mum claims my brother had chickenpox at that time as well, but I don’t remember it at all. Apparently he was mildly sick for a few days. Either he was the “right” age (he was 5) or he just got lucky. My memories of thinking something horrible would happen to my sister, though, are VIVID. I guess kids remember emotional trauma better than uneventful stuff. On the bright side, though, we all have the possibility of getting shingles one day. What fun!

    My childhood came before the chickenpox vaccine was available. If my siblings and I could have had a shot instead, if we had caught wild type chickenpox because my parents had taken us to a pox party or given us infected lollipops some lunatic had mailed to them, I would be VERY UPSET. Even though 3 out of 3 kids got wild-type chickenpox, none had complications, seems like pretty decent odds. But I still would much rather we could’ve just had a shot instead.

    My mum, incidentally, even though no vaccine was available at the time, did not deliberately seek to infect us with chickenpox (maybe because she wasn’t bugfuck insane). So parents who are considering pox parties or mail fraud, know one thing before you start: if you give your kids chickenpox on purpose instead of acting like a grown-up and taking them for the damn shot, maybe decades from now, your kids won’t come and visit you in the old folks’ home.

  47. #47 Cath of Canberra
    November 5, 2011

    @ Tiktaalik – if your parents had actually taken you to a pox party when you were 6, you might not have had such a bad experience at 13. I gather than chicken pox is much nastier if you get it when older. I had it at about 6 and it was horrible, so I hate to think how much worse it could get.

    Of course, given the existence of a vaccine, it’s now criminal abuse. But as others have noted, once upon a time it was a rational decision to expose kids when quite young. And they just had chicken pox parties, not measles or mumps or polio or diphtheria parties. They saw these diseases in action, and they weren’t stupid.

  48. #48 Clare
    November 5, 2011

    My kids were among the last generation to get chicken pox before the vaccine became widely available. They were at a jungle gym in Poole, England, and while I did not see him, there was supposedly a kid with a prominent rash running around in there too. By the time I heard anyone else commenting on it, it must have been too late, because both my kids came down with chicken pox with days of getting home to the US. It was a royal pain in the ass staying home with first one, and then the other kid as they became ill, but happily both cases were mild. What concerned me most was the people who might have been exposed in that gym, or later on during our holiday, or on the plane on the way home who might become more seriously ill. I don’t know if the parents of the child thought the jungle gym was an “unannounced” pox party, or just figured (too early) that their kid was no longer infectious… Additionally, all too many people think that measles, mumps and chicken pox are a walk in the park and it doesn’t do any harm to get the real thing. Amazingly thoughtless.

  49. #49 B Rose
    November 5, 2011

    Hello,

    I am the 17 year old that wrote the “chirpy captions” on the blog post. And yes, I did proudly post pictures of it on the blog. For your information, we did not suggest the Chicken Pox Party; our friends did. And guess what? They didn’t even catch it! Does that give you any peace of mind?

    Now for a piece of my mind… all my older siblings and I have had the vaccine. Despite that fact, we caught Chicken Pox from our younger siblings before they had the chance to get the vaccine. So much for protection!

    I guess now we have double immunities! Do you have that?

  50. #50 missie
    November 5, 2011

    Hello,
    I’m the 20 year old sister of the 17 year old that wrote the “chirpy captions” which I personally think were cute comments. I did get the vaccine for CP and I still got CP. And yeah my mom did expose me (to my own siblings) and I’m very thankful she did. Now someday when I have my own kids- I will not have to worry about getting CP when pregnant.

  51. #51 Narad
    November 5, 2011

    For your information, we did not suggest the Chicken Pox Party; our friends did. And guess what? They didn’t even catch it! Does that give you any peace of mind?

    Actually, Bethany, generalized incompetence would seem to be a pretty big part of the problem.

  52. #52 Th1Th2
    November 5, 2011

    Pox parties are about as idiotic a concept as I can think of vaccination[...]

    That.

  53. #53 Mrs. Woo
    November 5, 2011

    I’m going to possibly be unpopular here. I have to admit that my pediatrician when the chicken pox virus came out said that chicken pox rarely has complications and it was better to expose my son (if I could find someone whose kids had chicken pox) the natural way if possible. On her advice I did not get my son vaccinated for chicken pox until before he entered kindergarten because at that time it was required for public school.

    So, for chicken pox, at least 10 or so years ago, even pediatricians were sometimes not really enthusiastic.

    I’m going to have to mull over the old fashioned way on chicken pox(skipping the mailing idea, that is dangerous and who would be wiling to take anything they got in the mail from a total stranger and give it to their kid to infect them? yikes!). With my pediatrician’s lack of enthusiasm for it it was one vaccine I wasn’t as concerned about obtaining.

  54. #54 Valerie
    November 5, 2011

    Good news: looks like Facebook killed the pox party pages referred to in the TV story.

    Lordy. I really can’t believe how stupid people are. Just when you think that the University of Google moms and dads cannot possibly, possibly get any stupider, they decide to send viruses through the mail in Ziploc bags. And then, on the other end of the transaction, people happily feed contagious material from strangers to their children. These same people probably wouldn’t let their kids play outside for fear of evil child molesters lurking behind every other bush, yet they invite any unknown idiot with a contagious disease right into the mouths of their precious little darlings.

    I mean, whatever happened to that old saying, “Don’t take candy from strangers?”

    It boggles the mind.

    For anyone out there who thinks that getting contagious lollipops from strangers is a good idea, please think about the following. Please. What if the person sending you that infectious lollipop is really a weirdo with hepatitis who wants to spread the love? Or a nut case with mono? Etc. etc. etc. She might sound all nice and mommmy-like, but you can’t really know that about someone you met on the internet, can you?

  55. #55 Ian Osmond
    November 5, 2011

    . . . um.

    So, in these parents’ worldview, having a controlled dosage of a killed virus carefully put into your child by a medical professional is too dangerous, but feeding random pathogens mailed to you by random strangers to your kids is safe?

  56. #56 dedicated lurker
    November 5, 2011

    How long does varicella live outside the human body anyway? It’s clearly more than a couple of minutes, but if you send off some tissue that your chicken pox infected kid sneezed on, would any still be living a week later?

  57. #57 Chance Gearheart, EMT-P
    November 5, 2011

    I’m going to email this to some of the ID docs at LeBonheur. Should be good for a couple of facepalms.

  58. #58 Dangerous Bacon
    November 6, 2011

    “As much as I am appalled at these “pox parties”, I can think of one thing worse than this: “AIDS parties.”"

    On the contrary, it would be a fine way for HIV denialists (those who are convinced that HIV does not cause AIDS) to demonstrate their convictions. A bunch of denialists could pass around HIV-infected needles to use, then laugh heartily at all of us later on when none of them develop manifestations of AIDS.

  59. #59 daedalus2u
    November 6, 2011

    This is absolutely insane.

    Can Homeland Security find these people and stop them before they cause an epidemic?

    Can they be involuntarily committed as a threat to themselves and others?

    Can Fedex, UPS, the US postal system, and the other shipping companies institute additional security?

    Can the Facebook records be subpoenaed/preserved so when there is an outbreak the origins can be traced and those responsible be made to compensate the victims?

    Can any health care worker who goes along with this be stripped of their ability to work in health care and put in jail?

  60. #60 Old Rockin' Dave
    November 6, 2011

    In my childhood and adolescence,I had poliomyelitis, measles, mumps, chickenpox and German measles. I would much rather have had the vaccines, thank you. My children have had vaccines for all of those. Unlike the antivaxers, I know why we have vaccines and I am glad that the vaccines exist. People who mail contaminated articles through the mail should be imprisoned, and those who deliberately expose their children should be imprisoned and lose custody as child abusers. This may sound harsh to some, but it is no less than they deserve.

  61. #61 LW
    November 6, 2011

    If a mother were walking down the street with her child, she saw a child ahead of her suck on a lollipop and then discard it in the street, and she then picked it up and stuck it in her own child’s mouth — would that not be child abuse?

    And in that hypothetical, she at least knows that the lollipop has been in the other child’s mouth without causing injury. If she receives a lollipop in the mail from a total stranger, she really doesn’t know what it might have been dipped in.

    This whole idea is insane.

  62. #62 Mary
    November 6, 2011

    Yeah–my 3 year old nephew battling leukemia really will appreciate the chirpy captions of people spreading pox in the community, I’m sure. Those are really funny to kids who can’t get immunized and are already in serious health battles.

    Thanks, kids, for being so mindful of the most vulnerable in our society!

  63. #63 Zarathustra
    November 6, 2011

    Children who are not vaccinated should be banned from attending school.

  64. #64 Th1Th2
    November 6, 2011

    If a mother were walking down the street with her child, she saw a child ahead of her suck on a lollipop and then discard it in the street, and she then picked it up and stuck it in her own child’s mouth — would that not be child abuse?

    Oh I’m sure Chris wouldn’t mind toddlers picking up stuff on the sidewalk and putting it in their mouth, would you Chris?

    But then again, that’s just the sidewalk. Toddlers love to eat dirt, no?

  65. #65 Th1Th2
    November 6, 2011

    Children who are not vaccinated should be banned from attending school.

    Haha. You’re barking up the wrong tree, newbie. Oh please educate yourself. The easiest way, if not the earliest, to get the children infected with VZV is through inoculation. Therefore, vaccinated children and now the infection promoters, are the ones that should be banned from attending school. Not only that they need to be excused, their parents should also put a leash on them for the safety of others.

  66. #66 Th1Th2
    November 6, 2011

    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.

    I know what you mean Orac. You don’t want any competing infection promoters besides vaccination. I see.

  67. #67 Heliantus
    November 6, 2011

    At the attention of any lurker wondering if our resident deaf-on-purpose troll as a point:

    …Toddlers love to eat dirt, no?

    As a matter of fact, yes.
    Which is part of the point: there is no need to encourage your kids by picking garbage yourself and stuffing them with it.
    Especially garbage mailed over by a total stranger.

    If you cannot see the difference between tasting-the-world child behavior and irresponsible adult behavior…

  68. #68 Presuming Ed
    November 6, 2011

    Since some people seem so keen on anecdotal evidence, here is a piece of family history some may find interesting.
    In the early part of the 20th century,my Great Grandmother’s sister had a child who was suffering from an illness which concerned her so greatly she paid for a doctor to examine him (an extremely rare occurrence for poor working class people of that time). The doctor quickly diagnosed measles and went on to explain that there was no treatment available beyond careful nursing.
    He went on to suggest that she sleep her other three children in the same bed with the afflicted
    child in the hope they too would become infected,to “get it
    all out of the way at once”.
    She followed this advice and the other three children did indeed become infected.
    All four died.

  69. #69 Th1Th2bot
    November 6, 2011

    You must be singing as long as asymptomatic infection. Oh wait for those are harmless, to meet their vaccine antigens? So given any evidence to inject back to make a case, of IgG to carry prove that makes sense instead.

  70. #70 Th1Th2
    November 6, 2011

    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

    Of course I don’t call anyone who vaccinate as bioterrorist for allowing their children to be injected with known biohazards. At least not yet. I simply call them infection promoters even though vaccines are considered biohazards.

  71. #71 Th1Th2bot
    November 6, 2011

    I’ve seen the gist of significant quantities of Biology and whose antibodies do for newborns, children and adults. Shocking? You sound more like half-normal saline with your mind.

    This and potent. Read it.

  72. #72 Daniel J. Andrews
    November 6, 2011

    Unreal. You take a lollipop from a kid’s mouth, put it in a sealed moist environment, send it through what are probably pretty warm conditions, pull it out, and put it in the mouth of a different child to see if they catch anything?

    Why not just call it “bacteria roulette?” I can go scrape some coughdrops off a sidewalk if that will help…

    Not to do a “me too agreement” post, but here’s a me too agreement post. That was my thought too. I can see how some people are brainwashed about vaccines being more harmful than the disease, but how doorknob stupid are you when you want to stick a used lollipop into your kid’s mouth?! Who knows what has grown on it in the meantime, who knows if it actually was in another infected kid’s mouth at all (here Rover, lick this), who knows if there are any other viruses transferred along with it, say, Hep C.

    The OCD side of me just whined quietly and curled up into a fetal position for the day.

  73. #73 Th1Th2
    November 6, 2011

    Which is part of the point: there is no need to encourage your kids by picking garbage yourself and stuffing them with it.

    And why it is safe to walk with the toddler on a sidewalk rather on dirt, no? Nonetheless, it’s perfectly OK for you if they eat dirt, isn’t it?

  74. #74 Tth1Th2bot
    November 6, 2011

    No stranger to humans, no? He still you. Failure to be also be asking if your hypotheticals can save the target.

  75. #75 T-reg
    November 6, 2011

    To quote lilady’s sage advice: “Please do not feed the troll”.

  76. #76 TBruce
    November 6, 2011

    There’s also the fact that chicken pox infection in early pregnancy can cause serious birth defects. There’s a good chance that some of the mothers attending these parties would be pregnant and at risk, if they hadn’t already had chicken pox or the vaccine.

    I know of a successful lawsuit against a doctor for failing to recognize the risk of chicken pox in a pregnant woman. The child was born with some serious congenital abnormalities. The damages were enormous (for future care etc). Unfortunately, the promoters of the parties would have “shallow pockets”.

    I see that boring, stupid, insane troll is still boring, stupid and insane.

  77. #77 sophia8
    November 6, 2011

    I guess now we have double immunities! Do you have that?

    Well goody for you! Your social circle is clearly tiny – it doesn’t include anybody who is immune-compromised and doesn’t even have single immunity. So let’s hope it stays that way.

  78. #78 Pareidolius
    November 6, 2011

    I call Poe on the just-a-little-too-vapid, chirpy sisters. There is no vaccine for chirpys by the way.

  79. #79 DLC
    November 6, 2011

    Hm. could have swore that I posted something on this. perhaps it’s in moderation. I used some html for formatting.
    well.. shorter form:
    1) Odds of a bad outcome from vaccine: 1 in millions.
    2) Odds of a bad outcome from exposing junior to chicken pox ? about 1 in 100.
    3) With Vaccine : Junior will be uncomfortable for a few minutes with a vanishingly small chance of actually getting chicken pox.
    4) with exposure: Junior will be miserable for a week to two weeks, with potential scarring and other complecations
    Point B:
    You are asking a total stranger — someone who at best you’ve exchanged a couple emails or tweets with — to send you a package of unregulated, uncontrolled LIVE VIRUS.
    And what else ? you have no damn clue what else is in that package. Even assuming it was not some evil person bent on mayhem, there were no safety measures employed, and you have no idea what other viruses or bacteria may be on that lollypop or that rag with sputum. NO IDEA.

  80. #80 Denice Walter
    November 6, 2011

    Bot, you inspire me ( Sing, oh Heavenly Bot?):

    How do people conceptualise the risks of vaccines vs the risks of acquiring the illness that the vaccine usually prevents?

    I am speculating but I envision the following scenario: a person who uses “data” will directly compare numbers e.g. Todd** might compare numbers that show multiple risks associated with getting a childhood illness- summed, contra the multiple risks of getting the vaccine- summed. He might get a final figure like 1000:1.

    Now Dan** makes less use of numbers to anchor his analysis: he uses verbal descriptions that accompany parents’ accounts and speculative writings / research of experts he personally deems reliable: thus he “sums” material that is not numerical but assigns hypothetical numerical value ( and I’m not saying that this is a conscious process) that is based on the emotional content of the accounts and written material as well as their frequency/ intensity/ duration in comparison to previously viewed similar material. Pathos inspiring stories are more heavily weighted as are articles that invoke anger and resentment against institutions and individuals ( see NaturalNews, AoA, NVIC, et al). Similarly the risks associated with a child acquiring the illness are dimissed or reduced through linguistic labelling: ” just a childhood illness”. Similarly emotional material is weighted based on its source with less emphasis on number.

    So “significant” has two different meanings based on whether it is used numerically or as an estimate / evaluation based on verbal accounts. Todd’s ratio is incomprehensible or meaningless to Dan.

    Yesterday afternoon and evening as I walked around Hipsterville-on-Hudson*** encountering many young mothers and couples with their *bebes* in the shops, galleries, and cafes, I wondered how many see the world of risk as I do.

    ** random names. Not really.
    *** a real town.

  81. #81 Th1Th2
    November 6, 2011

    There’s also the fact that chicken pox infection in early pregnancy can cause serious birth defects. There’s a good chance that some of the mothers attending these parties would be pregnant and at risk, if they hadn’t already had chicken pox or the vaccine.

    Well the fact is varicella, either by natural infection or vaccines, is contraindicated in pregnancy but the problem is that you are an infection promoter duh.

  82. #82 LW
    November 6, 2011

    This and potent. Read it.
    No stranger to humans, no? He still you. Failure to be also be asking if your hypotheticals can save the target..
     
    Pure poetry, Th1th2bot. Bravo! Encore!

  83. #83 Chris
    November 6, 2011

    When I found out my son was chewing gum that he found on the sidewalk, I made him spit it out and told him to not do that again. My reasons for not giving kids gum at a young age was them not disposing of it properly (mainly not wrapping they they threw it away, or finding it stuck on a piece of furniture).

    Again, Thingy lies.

    Please heed this sign.

  84. #84 Liz Ditz
    November 6, 2011

    Found this at Whizz-Bang, a pediatric nephrologist in academic medicine:

    http://scientopia.org/blogs/whizbang/2011/11/05/not-a-bad-idea-30-years-ago/

    I’m in the most unusual position of having recommended chickenpox exposure in my professional career. Children with chronic kidney disease, heading toward a lifetime of immunosuppression, had risk from chickenpox above and beyond a period of itchy misery. Having them get chickenpox prior to transplant was a wonderful thing that saved these children shots of prophylactic immune globulin after exposure and the danger of active infection.

    So hell, yes, I had parents take their kids to visit the little pox-ball next door.

    Until 1993 when the varicella vaccine became available. Now we give these kids a couple of shots before transplant. Since most of their peers have been vaccinated, they rarely get exposed. Even if their immune response is sub-par, we deal with a whole lot less morbidity from this virus.

    The vaccine works. It has been around at least 17 years, and its safety is confirmed. There is simply no reason to promote active infection today.

    Let me repeat that, just in case you didn’t hear it the first time.


    The vaccine works. It has been around at least 17 years, and its safety is confirmed. There is simply no reason to promote active infection today.

  85. #85 Narad
    November 6, 2011

    I call Poe on the just-a-little-too-vapid, chirpy sisters.

    Nah.

  86. #86 Th1Th2bot
    November 6, 2011

    Well the fact is varicella, either by natural infection or vaccines, is contraindicated in pregnancy but the problem is that you are an infection promoter duh.

    You’re barking up the squirrel to find out. You carry out when to your point. Probably went to come again, it’s you consider yourself before.

  87. #87 Th1Th2bot Service Center
    November 6, 2011

    We regret that we have to go out for more spare parts, as the bot was trying to dump output to the DECwriter II that serves as console (and consoler) without thinking about the limitations of the hardware. It seems to have been trying to say something about this.

  88. #88 palindrom
    November 6, 2011

    I didn’t know Poe’s law; as applied to internet stuff, urban dictionary gives it as follows:

    Similar to Murphy’s Law, Poe’s Law concerns internet debates, particularly regarding religion or politics.

    For example

    …”Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won’t mistake for the real thing.”

  89. #89 palindrom
    November 6, 2011

    Sorry, the “for example” was the actual definition.

    Palindrom apologizes for any confusion this may have caused. Or, since he’s speaking in the third person, maybe it’s Bob Dole doing the apologizing.

  90. #90 Denice Walter
    November 6, 2011

    @ Th1Th2bot Service Center:

    Please handle the bot with kid gloves: it is unfortunate how frequently prodigiously talented artists flame out early in their careers – their fragile presences disappearing like meteors do as they penetrate into the increasingly denser levels of the atmosphere- gone all too soon! We wouldn’t want that now, would we?

  91. #91 Sarah
    November 6, 2011

    Well, whatever happens to these kids (or their parents whilst they handle the packages) is natural selection at work.

  92. #92 Narad
    November 6, 2011

    Well, whatever happens to these kids (or their parents whilst they handle the packages) is natural selection at work.

    No, it’s not. Moreover, you may find that cheap social Darwinism is viewed rather dimly in some quarters.

  93. #93 paoango
    November 6, 2011

    Thank you for writing about this. I work for an enforcement agency in New Zealand and I’ll be talking to my colleagues about this. I don’t think it’s an issue here at the moment, but I might just think that because we haven’t looked into it.

  94. #94 C. Sommers
    November 6, 2011

    This concerns vaccines, but it is slightly off topic so I apologize in advance.

    Can someone more knowledgeable than I (trolls f*%^ off) tell us if this “super flu shot” is actually something to get excited over, or is it just baseless hype?

    http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2011/11/04/north-texas-researchers-creating-ultimate-flu-shot/

  95. #95 Antaeus Feldspar
    November 6, 2011

    Can someone more knowledgeable than I (trolls f*%^ off) tell us if this “super flu shot” is actually something to get excited over, or is it just baseless hype?

    I’m sure others can speak from much greater knowledge than I, but I’d say it really is something to get excited over if they produce what they’re aiming for, and there’s no reason it couldn’t be so. I mean, by their very nature scientific breakthroughs are chickens not to be counted before they’re hatched, but it’s not like cold fusion, where the claim was “we’ve made this amazing discovery which turns the existing science on its ear!” If a vaccine effective against the common part of all flu strains were to be made, it’d be “we’ve made this great technological breakthrough which fits completely with what the science has said for a long time should be possible.”

  96. #96 C. Sommers
    November 6, 2011

    Thank you Antaeus. I’ll add my fingers to the list of those that will be crossed that this turns into a real breakthrough.

    When I stand in line for my super-flu shot, I’ll be sure to ask for extra mercury. ;)

  97. #97 Phoenix Woman
    November 7, 2011

    To quote lilady’s sage advice: “Please do not feed the troll”.

    Also, please use Firefox with Greasemonkey and Killfile script, so that when the trollies appear on your screen, you can make them go away.

  98. I know that a couple of people have reported the pox party page to Facebook.

  99. The Pox Party page hasn’t been deleted yet… here’s there wall post:

    Find A Pox Party Near You
    Reposting for those that haven’t seen: This page is going to soon be deleted due to ignorant people not doing their research and sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong. I will be making a pox party database, and anytime we are informed of chicken pox in your area, you will get an e-mail. If you would like to be entered into this database, please e-mail me at poxparty@gmail.com with your city and state and how many miles outside of your city you would be willing to travel. With time, this database will become very large so that it will be easier to find chicken pox. Thank you, and I’m sorry for the inconvenience!

    PLEASE SHARE to friends that might be interested in being informed of chicken pox in their area.

    Federal agencies might be interested in any plans to send virus through the mail.

  100. Aparently that was another Pox Party page. This one does not advocate mailing viruses.

  101. #101 LW
    November 7, 2011

    “With time, this database will become very large so that it will be easier to find chicken pox.”

    With time and anti-vax efforts, I’m quite certain that it will become easier to find chickenpox. Even if you’re not looking for it.

  102. #102 Titus Vader
    November 7, 2011

    Just a thought, but would anyone be able to use the results of a few years of these pox parties to show how effective vaccines really are? I mean, they’re exposing themselves so i don’t foresee any ethical problems except for keeping the data confidential.

  103. #103 elpico
    November 7, 2011

    We were visiting Toronto from Detroit about 30 years ago when my kids came down with chickenpox. They were pretty miserable, poor things. We took them to the hospital to find out what was wrong. Luckily we had driven up, because we wouldn’t have been allowed on a commercial flight. The linens and other items we used at the hotel were bagged and treated as though they were contaminated with a dangerous virus, which I guess they were. The whole thing was taken quite seriously. (And since Canada’s healthcare system was so much more progressive than ours, even back then, we got a bill for $7.)

  104. #104 MI Dawn
    November 7, 2011

    This is just appalling. I can recall (and have the scars to show) chicken pox. I brought it home and infected my older brother and baby sister, much to my mother’s dismay. My sister, under 1 year at the time, seemed to have a good case. Except she caught it again 15 years later and was really miserable.

    My kids were born before the vaccine. They caught it from a child in daycare. Younger daughter was mildly ill, older daughter (age 5) was very miserable, with pox all over. It’s SO much fun to give a 5 year old narcotics for chicken pox, because they are in so much agony that they can’t sit, stand, lie down, eat, drink or urinate. I would so happily do that again! /sarcasm

    My older girl still remembers chicken pox. When she heard about the vaccine, since she was/is fully vaccinated, she wanted to know WHY she hadn’t gotten it. If it had been available, and she had not received it, I don’t think she would ever forgive me.

  105. #105 LW
    November 7, 2011

    A thought occurs to me: is chickenpox one of the mandatory-reporting diseases? Is it one that the authorities will trace? If so, how do these people intend to explain how their child got infected?

  106. #106 Viking Warrior Princess
    November 7, 2011

    Killfile is a blessing, my poor table would not have survived one more ::headdesk::.

  107. #107 colmcq
    November 7, 2011

    After picking up my jaw from the floor it struck me that this is the anti-vaxers very distorted view of vaccination! Maybe in 200 years they’ll have got to adding thimerosal as a preservative to their lollypops.

  108. #108 Sean Case
    November 7, 2011

    Remember when that one guy was trying to help spread natural immunity to anthrax? I wonder what happened to him.

  109. #109 Mrs. Woo
    November 7, 2011

    Wow Comcq, I think you’re right. What they DON’T understand is that vaccines are viruses that are dead or significantly weakened… If they knew that part maybe they would be a little more rational. Oh wait.

    It’s all “teh poisons” we put in them.

  110. #110 Rebecca
    November 7, 2011

    Hi-
    Long time lurker here. I just came across a study that had me a bit worried as per the chicken pox vaccine. My son is fully vaccinated and got his CP vac last year. I was reading another (non-science) blog/forum and one of the posters made mention of a recent study of the increase in shingles “due to” the prevalence of the CP vac. http://www.news-medical.net/news/2005/09/01/12896.aspx
    Can anyone give me clarification about this? I love science but I am not a scientist so I would prefer someone who is one to help me understand this. Thanks so much.

  111. #111 Krebiozen
    November 7, 2011

    Rebecca,

    As I understand it, it still isn’t entirely clear, but this appears to be the situation. When CP is endemic in a population, as it was before vaccination (and still is in some countries like the UK), people’s immunity is naturally boosted by contact with children with CP from time to time. This helps to prevent the virus from emerging from dormancy to cause shingles in older people whose immunity is declining.

    There may be a temporary period of several years when people who had CP as children no longer get that natural boost to immunity and so will be more likely to get shingles as they get older. As the children who have been vaccinated against CP grow up and get older (and those of us who had natural CP die off), the incidence of shingles is expected to fall.

    In the meantime there is a zoster vaccine that will stimulate immunity and is quite effective at preventing shingles in older people. This is the same as the CP vaccine but with a higher dose of virus to stimulate the more sluggish immune system of the elderly.

    The CP vaccine may lead to shingles, but because it is an attenuated virus it is likely to be much less common and much less severe if and when it does occur. I have seen it argued that most cases of shingles in vaccinated people may be due to them getting a mild case of CP that they were not aware of, not from the vaccine. Some studies have isolated the vaccine strain of the CP virus in some but not all vaccinated people who have contracted shingles.

    So your son is very unlikely to get either chicken pox or shingles, much less likely than if he had not been vaccinated.

    Time will tell how long immunity to CP lasts after vaccination, if booster shots will be required, and if the zoster vaccine will be required in older people who have been vaccinated against CP as children. As I said, it isn’t entirely clear yet. Public health authorities in countries like the UK are watching the US with interest to see how it works out.

    I hope that is helpful!

  112. #112 JR
    November 7, 2011

    *sigh* Missie and BRose: Yes, of course you can still get the chicken pox after the vaccine, especially if your parents/friends did something as moronic as having a chicken pox party. The fact that you didn’t come here ranting and raving about how sick you became, given your older age at the time, shows how the vaccine protected you – people who contract the pox after receiving the vaccine have milder cases. If you hadn’t had the vaccine before the pox party you probably would have become much, much more ill from contracting it. But there is no such thing as “double immunity” – you now, however, have a stronger immunity after having been ill. Good for you. It would not have been necessary for you to have been ill at all, though, if you had simply avoided contact with those infected with the chickenpox while they were at their most contagious. I’m not sure how old your siblings were to have “not gotten the vaccine yet” but when my son was vaccinated he was very small. So I have to wonder if your parents were just deliberately avoiding getting them proper immunizations. If so, they suffered an illness for no good reason.

    RE: sending lollipops though the mail – I don’t get trusting a stranger on the mail to send an infected anything. How do you know it isn’t some psycho sending their herpes, HIV, whatever? Not a medical professional, clearly, I don’t know what pathogens can survive a several day long trip on a lollipop but – ew. Just ew.

  113. #113 Calli Arcale
    November 7, 2011

    B Rose and Missie:

    Chickenpox is one of the harder things to develop immunity to. I was never vaccinated against it, but I did contract it twice — I’ve read studies (no reference ATM, sorry) that suggest natural and vaccine immunity may not actually be any different in terms of robustness or longevity. It’s possible that natural immunity only appeared lifelong because there was so much “in the wild” exposure in those days. Nowadays, with the vaccine, there is far less wild exposure, and our immunity is lapsing by the time we reach our late teens and into adulthood — personally, I’m thinking we need boosters. I’m concerned about getting shingles from my teenaged bout of chickenpox, and know that I won’t qualify for the shingles vaccine for a while yet. (I think they want you to either be in a high risk group or be older than a certain age, possibly 60, before they recommend the vaccine. Going from memory here.)

    It is entirely possible to get vaccinated and still get the disease later. It’s unfortunate that your mother exposed you that extra time* — quarantining those with chickenpox would have spared you both the disease and the increased chance of shingles that you now have. The late teens and early 20s is actually past the window of the “pox parties” of old — you have a higher risk of getting a severe case at your age. I’m glad the metaphorical dice were on your side, though.

    Vaccination definitely reduces the risk of contracting the disease. It does not eliminate it. A lot of people think vaccination should be 100% effective, but our immune systems don’t really work that way.

    *On the other hand, I can understand it if your mom just wanted some extra help for the party and figured you were safe. That’s sort of how I got chickenpox in my early teens — I was asked to babysit a couple of kids with chickenpox over my spring break, because I’d already had it as a toddler. Lo and behold, I wasn’t as immune as we thought. The logic was sound; stuff happens sometimes. But then I passed it to my brothers, who shared it around their classes. One of our good family friends, who was in my older brother’s class, got a nasty case. Not bad enough for the hospital, but she was pretty uncomfortable. Pox under the eyelids and down the throat.

  114. #114 Th1Th2
    November 7, 2011

    When CP is endemic in a population, as it was before vaccination (and still is in some countries like the UK), people’s immunity is naturally boosted by contact with children with CP from time to time. This helps to prevent the virus from emerging from dormancy to cause shingles in older people whose immunity is declining.

    Myth.

    There may be a temporary period of several years when people who had CP as children no longer get that natural boost to immunity and so will be more likely to get shingles as they get older. As the children who have been vaccinated against CP grow up and get older (and those of us who had natural CP die off), the incidence of shingles is expected to fall.

    Myth.

    In the meantime there is a zoster vaccine that will stimulate immunity and is quite effective at preventing shingles in older people.

    Crap.

    The CP vaccine may lead to shingles,[...]

    Fact.

    So your son is very unlikely to get either chicken pox or shingles, much less likely than if he had not been vaccinated.

    Her son has qualified for shingles thanks for the vaccine dunce.

    Time will tell how long immunity to CP latent infection lasts after vaccination,[...]

    That and reactivation.

  115. #115 g724
    November 7, 2011

    Orac, check your email.

    Everyone: Do not contact the people on that Facebook page or post anything there. Do not communicate with them in any way: anything you say to them could be used to make an entrapment defense. Leave them alone, they are digging themselves into a pretty deep hole and will soon discover how deep it is.

  116. #116 Th1Th2
    November 7, 2011

    I’m concerned about getting shingles from my teenaged bout of chickenpox,[...]

    How about the greater majority of children who were inoculated with the causative agent, no?

  117. #117 Reuben
    November 7, 2011

    @Th1Th2 (Lloyd)

    No.

  118. #118 Luna_the_cat
    November 7, 2011

    @Rebecca — Just so you know, Th1Th2 is the resident know-nothing, biologically-ignorant troll; please do not take anything s/he says as being a reliable guide.

    The way that people get shingles is indeed having had a full-blown case of chicken pox, then the virus taking up residence in the central nervous system instead of being cleared entirely. Generally it stays dormant, but shingles occurs when it breaks out of dormancy. Re-exposure to the pox is supposed to help keep our immune systems sensitive enough to it to slap it down, which is why some people were worried that NOT being around poxy children would be enough to trigger an epidemic of shingles in the older generations which have the zoster virus resident in the CNS. However, this epidemic has not materialised anywhere yet, even though the chicken pox vaccine has been in use in the US for years now. Besides, if our immune systems need a reminder, there is now a followup vaccine aimed at the zoster virus specifically to prevent shingles; having seen some truly horrendous cases of shingles, I know what I’m going for.

    The chicken pox vaccine is a weakened, attenuated virus, which is in general nowhere near enough strength to take up residence in the central nervous system the way the wild virus does — obviously it is possible on rare occasions, it just doesn’t happen nearly as much as it does with actual chicken pox infections.

    http://www.bupa.co.uk/individuals/health-information/directory/s/shingles

    The chicken pox vaccine itself doesn’t actually have a 100% efficacy — best figures I can find for it are between 80-90% efficacy — but it seems quite consistent that those who have had it, even if they subsequently catch chicken pox, avoid severe disease. This makes it much less likely that even these will have shingles in the future.

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/varicella/default.htm

  119. #119 Krebiozen
    November 7, 2011

    Good to see I got the Thingy seal of approval. As I said none of this is certain, but it is currently the best explanation for the available evidence. Still, here are some citations to demonstrate yet again that she is clueless:

    When CP is endemic in a population, as it was before vaccination (and still is in some countries like the UK), people’s immunity is naturally boosted by contact with children with CP from time to time. This helps to prevent the virus from emerging from dormancy to cause shingles in older people whose immunity is declining.

    Myth.

    Not a myth: PMID 17360990
    “The reduced circulation of VZV in the study area or an inadequate initial response to vaccination may have contributed to the waning of vaccine-induced immunity to varicella. An assessment of the duration of protection afforded by one dose of the varicella vaccine administered to children under the age of 13 years between December 1991 and January 1993 showed an increase in the geometric mean titer of varicella IgG antibody during a 10-year follow-up period. The most likely explanation for this increase was an anamnestic immune response due to exposure to wild-type VZV, since varicella was still common during that period.”

    There may be a temporary period of several years when people who had CP as children no longer get that natural boost to immunity and so will be more likely to get shingles as they get older. As the children who have been vaccinated against CP grow up and get older (and those of us who had natural CP die off), the incidence of shingles is expected to fall.

    Myth.

    Not a myth, first hypothesized by Dr. Hope-Simpson in 1965 and supported by plenty of evidence since: PMC1898279 and PMID 20550454
    “Hope-Simpson hypothesized that immunity to VZV, induced by varicella, prevents the development of herpes zoster. He further hypothesized that this immunity gradually decreases over time, but is periodically boosted by exogenous exposure to varicella and by subclinical reactivations of endogenous latent VZV that are contained by host immunity.”

    In the meantime there is a zoster vaccine that will stimulate immunity and is quite effective at preventing shingles in older people.

    Crap.

    Not crap, shingles is another name for herpes zoster, even the Cochrane Review (which normally calls for further studies of everything) agrees the vaccine is effective at preventing zoster: PMID 21412911
    “The vaccine was effective in decreasing the incidence of herpes zoster…”

    Her son has qualified for shingles thanks for the vaccine dunce.

    Your alternative is for her to leave her son vulnerable to a life-threatening infection for the rest of his life. Who’s the dunce here?

  120. #120 Pinkamena, Panic Pony
    November 7, 2011

    Don’t feed the parasprites.

  121. #121 Anton P. Nym
    November 7, 2011

    I now await the traditional response of the US Federal government to the use of the mail system by members of the general public to distribute infections materials; hopefully this time not including extraordinary rendition. (I’m not entirely sure I disapprove of the “placing these folks on permanent no-fly lists” part; it is draconian and a deep infringement upon civil liberties, but these folks clearly have very strange ideas about safe conduct on common carriers…)

    — Steve

  122. #122 Anton P. Nym
    November 7, 2011

    @ myself (#119)

    to distribute infections materials

    Er, “to distribute infectous materials”. *sigh*

    — Steve

  123. #123 Rebecca
    November 7, 2011

    @Krebiozen – Both your responses to me and Thingy were of great help. In fact I was anticipating a troll response and then a further rebuttal from you or someone like you to help even further. Not to feed or encourage the trolls, but I’ve learned an enormous amount from their “arguments” and the subsequent (and inevitable and educational) smackdowns. Thanks!

  124. #124 Beamup
    November 7, 2011

    @ g724:

    I’d be very interested to hear how telling people they’re child abusing idiots who are breaking the law could possibly give them any kind of defense. Much less entrapment, which at least according to Wikipedia can only be performed by government agents.

    Quite the opposite, in fact. It would make it much harder for them to credibly argue ignorance of the consequences, to the extent that could be a viable defense.

  125. #125 Th1Th2
    November 7, 2011

    Not a myth: PMID 17360990

    You’re barking up the wrong tree hence you’re confused. The title of the article is “Loss of vaccine-induced immunity to varicella over time.”

    Now show me the evidence that states varicella vaccine would protect the host from shingles.

    Not a myth, first hypothesized by Dr. Hope-Simpson in 1965 and supported by plenty of evidence since: PMC1898279 and PMID 20550454

    Myth and that myth no longer holds true (1965 hello??) since shingles is a consequence of primary VZV infection either by natural infection or vaccine. Meaning, shingles is not caused by subsequent VZV re-infection. Of course, you can have as many varicella infection (chicken pox) as you want. It does not matter.

    Not crap, shingles is another name for herpes zoster, even the Cochrane Review (which normally calls for further studies of everything) agrees the vaccine is effective at preventing zoster: PMID 21412911

    The operative words there are “may be”.

    Your alternative is for her to leave her son vulnerable to a life-threatening infection for the rest of his life. Who’s the dunce here?

    I don’t play the Russian Roulette so my alternative is to say NO to infection promoters like you.

  126. #126 Krebiozen
    November 7, 2011

    Rebecca,

    Not to feed or encourage the trolls, but I’ve learned an enormous amount from their “arguments” and the subsequent (and inevitable and educational) smackdowns. Thanks!

    You’re welcome. Th1Th2 is now back in my killfile where she belongs.

  127. #127 rob
    November 7, 2011

    i had chicken pox as a kid, but i have never been exposed to ebola. since there is not a vaccine available to the general public, i want to build up a NATURAL IMMUNITY the NATURAL WAY, cuz, you know–it’s NATURAL. does anyone know someone who is having an ebola party? if not, could you please send me rhesus macaque infected with the virus*–preferably one that hasn’t bled out yet.

    don’t forget to poke holes in the shipping container so it can breathe!

    *Zaire and Bundibugyo strains only. no Reston!11!!!1!

  128. #128 Jen
    November 7, 2011

    I say good for them. Both my kids had chicken pox and swam in toxic lakes and my God, they didn’t even develop flesh eating disease, never mind any ‘horrendous’ complications. That’s how far the CDC has pushed people – I remember some old doc telling the American public that it was a good thing for parents to do so they wouldn’t have to take sick days for their child w chicken pox. Next they’ll be adding anthrax and malaria to the schedule. This just goes to show how far parents have been pushed on the issue of vaccines. Many of us remember that chicken pox isn’t a dreaded disease.

  129. #129 Beamup
    November 7, 2011

    Both my kids had chicken pox and swam in toxic lakes and my God, they didn’t even develop flesh eating disease, never mind any ‘horrendous’ complications.

    And who cares about those who were a bit less lucky, right?

    I remember some old doc telling the American public that it was a good thing for parents to do so they wouldn’t have to take sick days for their child w chicken pox.

    It was a good thing to do so that the child hopefully wouldn’t get it when they were older and it would be even more severe. But not anymore, since the vaccine is so hugely superior.

    Many of us remember that chicken pox isn’t a dreaded disease.

    Except for the children who are miserable for weeks or experience the nastier complications like pneumonia or death.

  130. #130 Chris
    November 7, 2011

    I could of guessed that Jen likes to see kids suffer for two weeks with itchy poxes. That is just cruel.

    My daughter got chicken pox when she was six months old, it was horrible. It was no picnic for her older brothers, especially the one who was so sick he kept wetting his bed.

    Anyone who thinks chicken pox is good for children, especially when it sets them up for shingles in later life, is just sadistic.

  131. #131 Narad
    November 7, 2011

    Does this incoherent rant even have a point, Jen? How has anyone been “pushed” to behave not just stupidly, as they would prefer, but criminally? The CDC has made varicella hard to find? Some sort of market distortion or something?

  132. #132 Vicki
    November 7, 2011

    Jen–

    Even if there were a good malaria vaccine, it probably wouldn’t be on the U.S. schedule, because malaria isn’t endemic in the United States. (At present: it has been in the past.) But it would save huge numbers of lives and large amounts of suffering in much of the world. Do you have a point, beyond your ignorance of the current state of malaria treatment, prevention (bed nets), and research?

  133. #133 Th1Th2
    November 7, 2011

    Anyone who thinks chicken pox is good for children, especially when it sets them up for shingles in later life, is just sadistic.

    Of course the clueless and infection-promoting Chris is just as sadistic as the pro pox since she also “sets them (children) up for shingles in later life”.

    Oh please don’t argue. You’re done.

  134. #134 slazar
    November 7, 2011

    Let’s go back a few years when my now 22 year old son went to Disneyland with me, returned for kindergarten, and roughly 10 days later, came down with chicken pox, and infected the entire home-daycare brood.

    I was NOT a popular person. The provider was sure that somehow I should have “seen” it, etc. As if. This was the easiest call for “time to switch providers”! Our relationship never did recover. She now does landscaping, to the relief of parents and children in the neighborhood.

    The mind boggles at this new turn of events. No, I don’t want it sent in the mail, either!

  135. #135 a-non
    November 7, 2011

    Funny how the anti-vaxers on this thread, by and large, ignore the crux of the case and instead go off on discredited tangents about vaccines in general and varicella immunization in particular. It’s like they can’t bring themselves to disparage their fellow loons.

  136. #136 lilady
    November 7, 2011

    I’ve been away for a few days and missed this lively discussion about the mailing of poxes and infected lollipops.

    I’ve found an excellent article from the American Society of Microbiology (January 12, 2007) about the extended viability of respiratory and enteric viruses on fomites…which have been implicated in the transmission of viral disease outbreaks in day care centers, schools, nursing homes and aboard tourist ships:

    Significance Of Fomites In The Spread Of Respiratory and Enteric Viral Diseases

    I went to Alaska in July with a land tour first, transferring to a southbound passage aboard a tourist ship. It was all very “hush-hush” while aboard the ship when we were not permitted to “help ourselves” at the buffet stations, two days out. On the third day, the daily newsletter explained that an unknown number of passengers had been diagnosed with norovirus, presumably contracted aboard a scenic train excursion during their land excursion and were quarantined in their staterooms. I’m glad that we didn’t opt for that excursion.

  137. #137 Calli Arcale
    November 7, 2011

    Jen:

    I remember some old doc telling the American public that it was a good thing for parents to do so they wouldn’t have to take sick days for their child w chicken pox.

    And that was reasonable advice, in the absence of a vaccine. Chickenpox is serious enough in teens and adults (and definitely infectious enough) that contracting it at a young age can be a sensible gamble. After all, the odds of being able to avoid it throughout one’s life aren’t very good. But now there’s a vaccine.

    Doctors used to recommend the oral polio vaccine too, and now recommend the safer (but more expensive) IPV. Go back much further, and you see the switch from variolation to vaccination in the fight against smallpox. The advice changes as better tools become available.

    Most kids survive chickenpox, and most people who get shingles are miserable for a while but don’t end up with partial paralysis (like one of my relatives did) or long-term neuralgia. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.

  138. #138 lilady
    November 7, 2011

    Please don’t feed ignorant, boring disease promoting troll(s).

    I have a comment stuck in moderation about the transmission of respiratory and enteric viruses on fomites, verified by actual PCR laboratory testing of fomite surfaces.

  139. #139 Reuben
    November 7, 2011

    @A-Non

    Lloyd could never turn on his fellow loons. His world would implode.

  140. #140 Edith Prickly
    November 7, 2011

    After sputtering “What the hell is wrong with these people????” along with everyone else, I’ve been wondering if social media will end up being the undoing of alties/anti-vaxxers in the long run. On the one hand they get an open platform to spout their nonsense, but on the other hand their unfiltered lunacy is on public display for normal people to see. Even a shruggie would have to wonder about people who think it’s OK to mail pathogens to other people so they can infect their children with vaccine-preventable diseases.

    Delusional Thing troll is off its meds again, I see. Will not engage.

  141. #141 EmmaFinn
    November 7, 2011

    I got chicken pox at the age of 22, only 6-months before the vaccination was available. I can say, without hesitation, that that was the sickest I have ever been. I was sick, sick, sick. Beyond that, I had chicken pox everywhere…All over my body. I even had them in my mouth and down my throat. They didn’t itch, so much as they hurt. I had the little bastards for three solid weeks. Then, had the scabbed over pox marks for another several weeks.

    It was absolutely miserable. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I would certainly NEVER intentionally expose my children to it. What the hell is wrong with people??

  142. #142 Dangerous Bacon
    November 7, 2011

    jen: “Many of us remember that chicken pox isn’t a dreaded disease.” And many of us remember getting it (as well as measles, mumps, rubella etc.) and being miserably sick, even if there were no permanent repercussions. Had vaccines for those diseases been available when I was a child, it would have been hard to comprehend any parent refusing to protect their kids while saying “Piffle, getting sick isn’t so bad”.

    Of course, when I was a child there were far fewer people with immunosuppression due to chemotherapy and radiation for cancer, far fewer on steroids for autoimmune and other diseases (with resultant immunosuppression), and no HIV-infected people faced with catching life-threatening infections from unimmunized kids. The at-risk population is much larger now.

  143. #143 Leon
    November 7, 2011

    Hey everyone, didn’t we see Th1Th2 in Lord of the Rings? Or was that another troll?

    Either way it would explain how someone could come up with the idea of deliberately sending uncontrolled virulent packages through the mail to infect others’ children without losing sleep over it–if the idea came from the Dark Lord himself.

  144. #144 lilady
    November 7, 2011

    I actually remember having measles years ago. I was about fourteen years old, my sister was fifteen and my brother 20 years old…quite unusual for three siblings to reach our mid teens, without contracting measles.

    I don’t recall any “pox” parties, but then there were no vaccines available for measles, mumps, rubella and varicella. Parents weren’t overly concerned about exposures…because every kid had “cases”…sooner or later.

    I probably messed up a prior posting about fomite transmission of respiratory and enteric diseases in day care, schools, hospitals, nursing homes and aboard tourist cruise ships. An excellent article appeared in the American Society For Micribiology journal (January 12, 2007):

    Significance of Fomites In the Spread of Respiratory and Enteric Viral Diseases

    Please ignore disease promoting, boring trolls.

  145. #145 Luna_the_cat
    November 7, 2011

    I have a comment stuck in moderation as well, with a couple links in it. Orac must be busy.

  146. #146 LW
    November 7, 2011

    a-non @133:

    Funny how the anti-vaxers on this thread, by and large, ignore the crux of the case and instead go off on discredited tangents about vaccines in general and varicella immunization in particular. It’s like they can’t bring themselves to disparage their fellow loons.

    That struck me too, although to me it’s more like they’ve settled on the medical profession as an outlet for their bigotry and hatred, and any excuse will do to vilify medical professionals, without regard to whether others do the same or worse. The point, after all, is not to condemn actions, but to have an excuse to hate and condemn identifiable people.

  147. #147 Th1Th2
    November 7, 2011

    Re-exposure to the pox is supposed to help keep our immune systems sensitive enough to it to slap it down, which is why some people were worried that NOT being around poxy children would be enough to trigger an epidemic of shingles in the older generations which have the zoster virus resident in the CNS.

    Haha. Myth. Please do yourself a favor. Go home and educate yourself before posting.

  148. #148 lilady
    November 8, 2011

    Please ignore delusional, disease-promoting, uneducated, health care professional wannabe, boring troll. It needs “terminal disinfection”.

  149. #149 ed haslett
    November 8, 2011

    I nearly never find myself in “the middle” or consider myself a centrist, but for heaven’s sake guys:
    1. In general CP is less annoying and dangerous the younger you have it. When I was in the third grade, I got it, small school pretty much shut down due to lack of attendance. Plenty of parents made sure their kids we exposed, it was the most humane thing to do.
    2. Certainly if there is a safe vaccine available that would seem like a better idea, however, parents have the ultimate responsibility for their kids. E.g. if a minor (even one not raised by a crazed non-vaccinator) runs amuck and vandalizes a car, the parents are normally responsible for repairs. The converse is also true, if a parent believes in non-traditional medicine (however in this case “pox parties” are the tradition of many generations), then it is their decision. In some mysterious, magical way, generations of people have survived CP, and you have swung too far the other way if you call this child abuse.
    3. Kids put everything in their mouths, there are certainly risks, and intentionally trying to infect someone with a substance from a stranger seems dumb. But, in general eating dirt (and bugs, and whatever) is how immune systems are built.
    4. If there is a law prohibiting mailing CP, there is probably a valid reason for it (and I would never consider sending or receiving anything like that) but taken to the extreme, how would you like to do a year in jail for mailing a letter when you have a nasty case of the flu, and a compromised postal worker catches it and dies?
    5. Those of you clamoring for the government to find these people, charge them with child abuse, and remove their kids, should do a little research on the future of kids in foster care. And for what it is worth, the loving environment that CPS provides.
    That’s a lot (sorry) but come on guys; chicken pox=child abuse, come on, think, the world is sorely missing applied common sense……………

  150. #150 lilady
    November 8, 2011

    @ ed haslett: What if one of these infected kids whose parents opted for the pox package, infects a woman in the very early stages of pregnancy? You do know, don’t you, that the fetus has a chance of suffering life-long permanent disabilities. Infants born with congenital varicella syndrome have a constellation of disabilities including permanent scarring, limb deformities, microcephaly, delayed development and mental retardation.

    How would you feel Mr. Haslett, if that pregnant woman was your wife, your sister or your daughter and was among the five percent of the population who never had the “natural disease”?

  151. #151 Julian Frost
    November 8, 2011

    @ed haslett:

    That’s a lot (sorry) but come on guys; chicken pox=child abuse, come on, think, the world is sorely missing applied common sense…

    Deliberately subjecting your child to a disease that has a high risk of complication (shingles) and can kill, when the parents can vaccinate against it at far less risk, IS child abuse.
    One final thing. Before Jenner came along, people would take material from smallpox sores, dry it out, grind it up and then inhale or ingest it. This was known as variolation. It was safer than catching smallpox directly from a smallpox sufferer, but people could still die from it. However, once the vaccine proved its worth variolation was banned because it was far riskier than the vaccine. Why anyone would hold a pox party when the vaccine is available is beyond me.

  152. #152 Imogen
    November 8, 2011

    I read this post on the weekend and was appalled. Then I reread it today, and was appalled again.
    Then denial kicked in, and I decided the whole thing was a sick, sick joke.

    This has to be a a joke, right? Orac? is it April Fools?

  153. #153 sophia8
    November 8, 2011

    None of the anti-vaxxers seem to grasp that bio-terrorists would find this an excellent delivery method for their disease organisms – just join one of these internet groups and start mailing out infected lollipops. The idiotic ‘warrior moms’ wouldn’t know that it wasn’t chickenpox, until they, their families and their friends were dying.

  154. #154 LW
    November 8, 2011

    “intentionally trying to infect someone with a substance from a stranger seems dumb”

    Seems dumb? Seems dumb? SEEMS dumb?

    If it only seems dumb to you, perhaps you should read the comments here more carefully. Knowingly infecting a child with an unknown disease, of unknown virulence, provided by an unknown person on the Internet doesn’t just seem dumb.

  155. #155 Mrs. Woo
    November 8, 2011

    @Ed Haslett – Someone who posts here regularly kept sharing from a book called “Pox: An American History.” I ended up doing a Kindle preview and got so engrossed in it I coughed up the $15.00 to finish reading it.

    One of the things brought up in comments that was also a problem in well-intentioned smallpox vaccination was that the lancets were often contaminated with other bacteria, including staph aureus, or the matter originally taken to create more vaccinations happened to be taken from someone who also had syphilis.

    These mothers, by choosing to go backwards in their version of immunization attempts are risking the same things for their own children and don’t have the benefit of the appropriate equipment to be sure that all that is being shared with their own child is chicken pox.

    If you can borrow a copy (or if you just want to download Kindle reader for your computer or Ipod or Android device and then get the free preview), I would really recommend you look at the book. It is fascinating (hard to believe a historical account of disease control and vaccination in the late 19th and early 20th centuries could be called a “page-turner,” but that’s where it is with me). It might also make you realize why professional medical personnel and scientists find the idea of mailing lollipops from infected children so frightening.

  156. #156 ed haslett
    November 8, 2011

    Thanks for the responses. I know my post was long, let me clarify a few things.
    1. Mailing desease vectors is a bad idea, however, please see my flu example. I will google the number of people killed by the flu compared to chicken pox and return with more data as time permits.
    2. My main point, chicken pox=child abuse. We can’t compare chicken pox to small pox, sorry far different critters. Life is always a risk, and choices that seem right today, often turn out to be questionable with hind sight. At the end of the day, the choice of how to raise one’s kids is still a parental choice.
    It is nice to see the passion here on this blog, I will come back as time permits and clarify my position further.

  157. #157 Antaeus Feldspar
    November 8, 2011

    I think the flaw in Ed Haslett’s reasoning can be boiled down to the following proposition: “If someone does something criminally stupid, because they stubbornly cling to a stupid belief, why, they shouldn’t be responsible for the consequences; the fact that they were sincere in believing something stupid and dangerous absolves them of blame.”

    Sorry, but it’s not true. You may have a sincere belief that you know better than all those contractors and that so-called “support post” can be knocked out during your DIY remodeling without any consequence — but when the roof crashes down and kills someone, you will be held responsible. You may have a sincere belief that there are actually people in the world who drive better when they’ve got a buzz on, and that you’re one of these people, and that you’re actually being extra-responsible when you toss down a couple of brewskis before you get behind the wheel — but when you get pulled over for reckless driving, or pulled out of your crashed car, you will face the consequences of your criminally stupid decision.

    Yes, it’s true, many parents do believe that vaccines are dangerous. Many parents believe that if their pediatrician tells them that the vaccine is much less dangerous than the actual disease, why then it means that they know more than their pediatrician. Many parents even believe that they are actually being canny and smart when they trust God knows what infectious material provided by God knows what stranger on the Internet, more than they trust a vaccine that has undergone actual safety and efficacy trials, to give their child safe and efficacious protection against disease.

    Yes, we understand that the beliefs are sincere. But sincere beliefs still don’t make these practices anything but criminally dangerous child abuse. If your obligation is to provide your child modern medical care and instead you give your child what hasn’t been state of the art for decades, you are failing your child.

  158. #158 Mrs. Woo
    November 8, 2011

    Mr. Haslett, I wasn’t actually comparing chicken pox and small pox. I was comparing the fact that contamination with additional bacteria and/or viruses is a very real threat because of the fact you have a lollipop or other thing that is suspected of harboring infection and you have no idea what other types of bacteria and viruses are being shared as well. Since your biggest worry is mailing it and maybe making a postal carrier sick, I wanted you to realize that it is dangerous even if Mom from two doors down says “hey, my kid has chicken pox, here’s his lollipop.” You cannot know what other things you might be exposing your child to at that time.

    However, I DO agree with your reluctance to move those kids into the foster care system. Many parents who are interested in alternative medicine are also parents who feed their kids a healthy diet, make sure they get plenty of exercise and love their children very much. Possibly moving social services in in a supervisory role to ensure adequate and safe vaccination is fine, but unless there are other irregularities I think removing the kids from the home could expose them to worse dangers.

    Also I believe I stated earlier on this blog post that my own pediatrician recommended against the chicken pox vaccine when it first came out and told me to get my son exposure the natural way if at all possible. I never found any chicken pox, though and ended up having him vaccinated to start school because of state law.

    Small pox is a different and much more dangerous illness than chicken pox and I’m aware of that. However, contamination of the items used to share the disease is much more likely than vaccine contamination or injury.

  159. #159 Calli Arcale
    November 8, 2011

    I think people are being a little harsh on Ed Haslett here. He’s not defending anti-vax views; he’s saying that calling it child abuse is a bit too strong. I’m undecided. It’s in the vast gray area between “definitely evil” and “perfectly okay”. I think it’s wrong, and I would strongly advise against it, and I’d think less of a parent who did it — but I’m not sure it needs to be criminal. Not yet, anyway. You see, I view the parents who buy infected lollipops off the Internet as marks for scammers; they aren’t buying it because they want to hurt their kids or because they are negligent — on the contrary, they have been persuaded that these are a safer alternative to the varicella vaccine. They’ve been conned, IMHO. The ones guilty of criminal behavior are the ones selling these things, and guilty in several ways.

    The terrorism word is also too much, IMHO, because they are not intending to create epidemics or foster an environment of fear. Any terror resulting from this would be accidental. However, anti-terrorism laws could certainly be applied to this situation. I’m sure the Department of Homeland Security would find this all very interesting.

    Ed, you made a slippery slope argument, asking how we’d feel if we got thrown in jail because a letter we mailed while we had influenza got a postal carrier sick. The problem with that argument is that criminality in this case hinges on *intent*. Just because your spit is infectious when you seal that envelope doesn’t make you guilty of a postal crime. What’s illegal is *deliberately* sending infectious material through the mail without the appropriate safeguards or labeling. One can also make arguments about fraud (falsely representing these lollipops as safe and effective alternatives to the varicella vaccine), practicing medicine without a license, dispensing pharmaceuticals without the appropriate manufacturing license, producing pharmaceuticals without the appropriate manufacturing safeguards, etc. It’s also possible these aren’t really varicella-contaminated, in which case there’s false advertising as well. And it’s entirely possible that they’re contaminated with nastier stuff, like hepatatis B, and if someone became infected they could also be found guilty of negligently causing that infection.

    So it’s not illegal to accidentally infect someone through the mail. Intentionally doing so is an entirely different matter. And while I don’t think this practice should be considered child abuse, in and of itself, it could be taken into account in custody decisions, if it is part of a larger pattern of negligent or abusive treatment of the children. There have been cases where two divorced parents disagreed on the medical care of their children, and I would hope that judges would side against the parent who thought this was an appropriate method of innoculation.

  160. #160 Chris
    November 8, 2011

    Mrs. Woo:

    Someone who posts here regularly kept sharing from a book called “Pox: An American History.” I ended up doing a Kindle preview and got so engrossed in it I coughed up the $15.00 to finish reading it.

    Yes, it has a history on how smallpox vaccine changed, how smallpox spread, how it was sometimes contaminated, how it started off FDA regulations of biologics, and it has the wonderful story of Immanuael Pfeiffer.

    I returned it to the library a week ago. Remember another way to read the books is through your local library, or neighboring county library. You can find books in libraries using this cool website: http://www.worldcat.org

    Today I am returning Dr. William Foege’s book House on Fire about ridding the world of smallpox.

  161. #161 Luna_the_cat
    November 8, 2011

    Actually, I think part of ed haslett’s argument centers around the concept “parents have the right to dictate what happens to their children.”

    And I can understand that — but what isn’t being acknowledged is that there are limits to this, and WHY there are limits to this.

    “Parents should have more control over their children’s lives than the state does” is understandable. But what we cannot leave behind is “Children also have rights, because they are people and not objects.” One of the rights children have is to be protected from harm.

    Nobody argues with that when a child is being taken away from parents because they are being abused physically or sexually, or starved, or otherwise subjected to things blatantly contrary to the child’s health and well-being. It goes further than that, however, in that children also have the right to the best available standard-of-care medical treatment. This is why parents are not allowed to refuse blood transfusions for their children on religious grounds. This is why parents have been forced to allow their children to have standard-of-care treatment for cancer even though they “don’t believe in it.” This is why parents who deny their children standard-of-care treatment for infections or diabetes in favour of homeopathy or prayer are prosecuted as criminals. Because children have a right to safe and effective medical treatment to the best standard of care which is available.

    Which is why it is NOT just a matter of “parents’ rights” when parents choose to expose children to unknown infections of unknown virulence from unknown sources instead of standard of care; this is why it moves into “abuse” territory. Parents’ rights to do as they please with their children do not automatically in all cases count as more important than a child’s right to life, health and welfare, nor SHOULD they. The child is a vulnerable dependent, but once they have a nervous system and an existence outside of the womb they are also actually people.

  162. #162 g724
    November 8, 2011

    Beamup @ 124: I’m not going to spell this out in a public forum, but I’ll be glad to tell you more in private email. Write to me at g2g-public01 (at) att (period) net and refer to your postings here. Suffice to say for now, that hunters don’t bang on pots and pans in the forest.

    Seriously folks, do not communicate with or engage with the poxers. Leave them alone. This situation is being taken care of. That’s all I can say in public at this point, but there will be news when there’s news, and y’all will be pleased at the outcome.

  163. #163 Lawrence
    November 8, 2011

    The think there is a line here – “pox parties” don’t necessarily constitute child abuse, but I would say that purposely seeking pox from strangers & having it mailed (with all that entails – breaking federal law, etc), I believe does cross that line of endangerment & neglect as well.

    I can’t believe even the trolls don’t have a problem with mailing of infectious agents – since it does constitute “bio-terrorism” under the law.

  164. #164 Mrs. Woo
    November 8, 2011

    Chris – I thought it was you but couldn’t remember for sure. I’ll have to go look for that link and/or see if I can find a way to borrow virtually from a library through my Kindle sometimes – the place I live is very small and anything like you’re suggesting could only be obtained via interlibrary loan if at all.

  165. #165 Chris
    November 8, 2011

    Which is what makes the World Catalog so cool. It does show where a book is nearby. I know that our county library and the county library that my sister-in-law worked in Colorado do loans out to small towns in their respective rural areas (they are both large counties and extend into mountainous regions).

    I also like that they are using services like Overdrive digital books, which I recently used to get a book onto my computer. They now have downloads for Kindle.

  166. #166 LW
    November 8, 2011

    ed haslett, put aside pox parties. Does it not sound like child abuse, to you, to *ask* total strangers to send you infectious material to feed to your child? You have no guarantee that the child advertised as having chickenpox actually has only chickenpox and not something more, or something worse. And you have no guarantee that the sender isn’t outright lying. See above: “here Rover, lick this”. I was thinking more along the lines of LSD. Or botulism toxin.

  167. #167 daedalus2u
    November 8, 2011

    To repeat what g724 said. Don’t communicate with them, that is just that many fewer contacts that need to be checked. My presumption is they will check all of them until they find the index case. More contacts simply is more noise that needs to be checked out before the perpetrators can all be rounded up.

    Calli, the definition of a terrorist act is simply politically motivated premeditated violence against non-combatant targets.

    Is the action politically motivated? Anti-vax beliefs are politics.

    Was it premeditated? Requesting infectious material and sending it through the mail demonstrates it is premeditated.

    Is it violence? Trying to infect someone with something is violence. The person doesn’t need to become infected, just the attempt is an act of violence. People with HIV have been prosecuted for spitting on or biting law enforcement agents. Sending or requesting something believed to be infectious is an act of violence.

    Maybe it is stretching the definition to include anti-vaxers who send pathogens through the mail to target innocent children. But I think that is a gray area and something that should be decided in a court of law, or a military tribunal. I am confident that a jury can decide something like this.

    What is interesting is that this might be the death knell of the anti-vax movement. If people are prosecuted (seems very likely), and they call anti-vax “experts” as “expert witnesses” to try and defend their actions, and if sending infectious material through the mail with the intent of infecting someone does get considered a “terrorist act”, then groups that do such things are “terrorist organizations” and people who provide material support to those terrorist organizations can be prosecuted also. Testifying and providing rationales for terrorist acts is (I think) considered to be providing material support for a terrorist organization.

    I would have preferred the anti-vax movement died out because people educated themselves with the facts and became members of the reality based community. But if it dies out because all the anti-vax “experts” are in prison for providing material support to terrorist organizations, I can live with that.

  168. #168 Calli Arcale
    November 8, 2011

    daedalus2u:

    Calli, the definition of a terrorist act is simply politically motivated premeditated violence against non-combatant targets.

    But it’s not politically motivated; the motivation is to “help” their children to get chickenpox “safely”. They’re wrong, but their motivation is not political, and their intention is medical. (They’re utterly wrong-headed, but they don’t believe they will be causing the children harm. Now, if a person sending this material is deliberately including other infectious agents for the purpose of causing harm, that’s a different matter altogether, and I could certainly see that happening.)

    But that’s irrelevant. I’m saying it’s too much for us to label these parents terrorists. That doesn’t mean you can’t apply anti-terrorism laws to their actions. There is a difference in context between law and common discourse, IMHO. I think labeling them terrorists and child abusers will make it impossible for us to get through to them, because that would make anyone defensive.

  169. #169 TBruce
    November 8, 2011

    1. Mailing desease vectors is a bad idea, however, please see my flu example. I will google the number of people killed by the flu compared to chicken pox and return with more data as time permits.

    I would be interested if you could find a documented case of flu spread by inadvertent contamination of a letter.

    2. My main point, chicken pox=child abuse. We can’t compare chicken pox to small pox, sorry far different critters. Life is always a risk, and choices that seem right today, often turn out to be questionable with hind sight. At the end of the day, the choice of how to raise one’s kids is still a parental choice.

    Not all child abuse derives from bad intent. Many parents who beat their children for misbehaving sincerely believe that they are doing it for the benefit of the child. However, it’s still child abuse, and needs to be stopped.

    It is nice to see the passion here on this blog, I will come back as time permits and clarify my position further.

    Looking forward to your reply.

  170. #170 TBruce
    November 8, 2011

    Oh look, I’ve reversed my comments and blockquotes.

    It must be Opposite Day today!

  171. #171 Calli Arcale
    November 8, 2011

    TBruce — it’s true that just because parents think they’re doing the right thing doesn’t mean it’s *not* child abuse. There is a very large gray area between “definitely abuse” and “definitely fine”. This isn’t on a par with the parents mentioned in this story, for instance:
    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/pastor-corporal-punishment-advice-scrutinized-child-deaths-160004793.html

    I tend to think of chickenpox parties as an edge case in this regard. I’m not sure it’s child abuse. I’m not sure it’s not. If two parents disagreed about it, I’d absolutely side with the one opposed. But I think it would be wrong to bring the parents up on charges for it unless it resulted in actual harm (for instance, the child contracting hepatitis from the contaminated sucker) or was part of a larger pattern of negligence and harmful medical decisions.

    I worry about the phrase child abuse getting applied too freely because while there are absolutely times when the children are in immediate danger and should be taken out of the household, that has to be balanced against the emotional harm done by taking them away from their accustomed environment. Even if CPS isn’t taking away the kids, if mom and dad get arrested, the kids will have to be separated from them until they can post bail.

    I also worry more about labeling these people “child abusers” because it others them. Intentionally or not, if we start calling them that, we’ll start writing them off rather than actually trying to understand their thinking so we can address their errors more effectively. They mean well for their children, and we should be able to find common ground there and perhaps even persuade them that this is not really a smart thing to do.

    Also, I’m not anywhere near as mad at the parents who *buy* these suckers as I am at the parents who *sell* them. As with illegal drugs, we’d do better to attack the sellers than the buyers.

  172. #172 Prometheus
    November 8, 2011

    Crazy stuff, eh? Similar to Orac, I occasionally have to transport or send viruses to distant locales and the paperwork to send even non-pathological, bacterial viruses is amazing. When I wanted to use tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) in my research, I had to get approval from the USDA.

    Apart from breaking laws (and, I might add, common sense rules about exposing uninvolved people to pathogens), it seems that the parents didn’t consider that these fomites might have other pathogenic viruses and bacteria on them. I’ve taken a few minutes to list some of the most common ones you might expect to see on a “used” lolly:

    [1] Herpes simplex (often reactivated during varicella infections)
    [2] Streptococcus pyogenes (AKA “strep throat”)
    [3] Influenza virus (I bet none of the “pox-packet” kids got the flu vaccine)
    [4] Coxsackievirus A (hand, foot and mouth disease – can look a lot like chickenpox)
    [5] Hepatitis B (did these kids get the HepB vaccine?)
    [6] Adenoviruses
    [7] Rhinoviruses
    [8] Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus – it’s usually a mouth/nose flora that “waits” for an opportunity)
    [9] Bordetella pertussis (“whooping cough”)

    Of course, I could go on and on (and on and on…), but I think that’s enough to get the point across.

    Prometheus

  173. #173 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    November 8, 2011

    Come now, Prometheus! Surely you know that people can only be sick with one disease at a time! You can’t have chicken pox and the flu at the same time, much less a Rhinovirus (clearly a disease of African wildlife, by the way) as one disease will crowd out the other.

  174. #174 LW
    November 8, 2011

    Also mommy warriors can unfailingly diagnose every illness of their children.

  175. #175 Narad
    November 8, 2011

    Also mommy warriors can unfailingly diagnose every illness of their children.

    Pendulums are powerful stuff.

  176. #176 lilady
    November 8, 2011

    Calli is more concerned with prosecuting the “mommy suppliers” of the virus-laden lollipops…rather than the “mommy recipients” who deliberately infect their kids.

    Perhaps these “pox packages” are “start-up” kits. The kids who are deliberately infected become the distant biological laboratories. Their mommies then distribute virus-laden lollipops to other mommies in their group who want their kids to have the “natural” chicken pox.

    Mommy warriors who “know their children can become infected with one virus at time” and “can unfailingly diagnose every illness of their children” also know how to read the MMWR. They need only peruse “notes from the field” measles outbreak reports to figure out how a virus is spread from the index case and results in secondary and terciary outbreaks.

  177. #177 Raging Bee
    November 8, 2011

    Wow, bioterrorism via the Postal Service AND premieditated child abuse. If a buncha Ay-rabs did this, we’d send them to Gitmo without a second thought. Possibly without a first thought either.

    And Sid Offal pops up to defend the practice? There’s pedophiles more decent than him.

  178. #178 Th1Th2
    November 8, 2011

    daedalus2u,

    Trying to infect someone with something is violence.

    One reason why vaccination should be stopped. It’s hideous.

  179. #179 Raging Bee
    November 8, 2011

    Thanks for the responses…

    And thank YOU, ed, for not even trying to address our responses with anything resembling honesty or good faith. And no, you’re not “centrist,” you’re just morally retarded.

    And speaking of moral retardation, I see Thingy has also chimed in to take a dig at teh evil vaccines that had nothing at all to do with the original topic. Just goes to show how totally uninterested these people are in the real world.

    I bet Orac could just make up any story he wanted about any dangerous, abusive, neglectful mistreatment of children he could imagine, and as long as he says it was done by anti-vaxxers as an alternative to vaccination, the same stupid trolls would pop up to defend it, without even checking to see if any of it was real. Priests with chicken-pox molesting children to get them infected so they’ll build up their own natural immunity? Of course that’s acceptable, at least the priests aren’t giving the kids mercury like the Big Pharma shills want us to!!

  180. #180 daedalus2u
    November 8, 2011

    I don’t think that law enforcement or the Justice Department will make excruciatingly fine distinctions between people who sent chicken pox and those who solicited others to send chicken pox to them.

    What will probably happen is that all the parents will be put in jail (at least temporarily) and all their children will go into foster care (at least temporarily), where the first thing that will be done is to catch them all up on their vaccinations. That is the one good thing that will come out of this.

  181. #181 lilady
    November 8, 2011

    “One reason why vaccination should be stopped. It’s hideous.

    And, one reason why Thingy should be stopped. It’s hideous.

    Please don’t feed delusional disease-promoting, uneducated, health care professional wannabe troll. It is in need of “terminal disinfection”.

  182. #182 Bruce of Canuckistan
    November 8, 2011

    MissWoo:

    “However, I DO agree with your reluctance to move those kids into the foster care system. Many parents who are interested in alternative medicine are also parents who feed their kids a healthy diet, make sure they get plenty of exercise and love their children very much…”

    I’m not so sure about this. For example, what about parents with what are arguably eating disorders, who force them on their children? I’m thinking in particular of extreme “raw food” vegans with dozens of crank beliefs about nutrition, the sort of person who forces their cat to be vegan.

    There are some around in my community, and it has to be said, their kids don’t look that healthy. I really wish social services had the courage to intervene in such cases.

  183. #183 Beamup
    November 8, 2011

    She did say “many,” not “all.”

  184. #184 Bruce of Canuckistan
    November 8, 2011

    True, but I feel besieged by woo here in Canada’s lotusland, and my tolerance is low. The level of woo “medical” fraud on open display alone is incredible, people are actually dying of it, and the government is too spineless to do anything due to their financial influence on the political parties. Our *MAYOR* made his fortune in woo.

  185. #185 Mrs. Woo
    November 8, 2011

    Actually, Bruce, that came to mind as I said it and was a reason for my qualified statement. One of the boys on my son’s football team has a mom who is a massage therapist. She was crowing to me that she started the boys’ (she has two sons still at home) days off with green smoothies and that her house was completely vegan now. They DO have a father who takes them out to eat at Sonic and other fast food places, buys them regular pizza, etc., on their weekends (usually almost every one). I confronted her with a website I know of that was created by a former vegan who gave it up for health reasons and compares raw food veganism with religion. She then admitted occasionally, especially if she gets a whiff of it she’ll eat meat, picking at it until she’s eaten an embarrassing amount. I’m hoping that will get her thinking about her body’s own craving for a more balanced diet.

    I do worry about the boys though I know they do get meat in their school lunches and at their dad’s. It just seems wrong to have two large, active, growing boys with a limited protein intake.

    However, I’ve known a few kids who have had very disruptive home lives and I know that it is very traumatic for all involved to have a child removed from a home. If a child is not in immediate danger and it’s a matter of educating parents better about risk vs. benefit of vaccines and the relative risk they will take trusting strangers to mail them viruses, I’d rather have social services supervision and intervention rather than a child removed.

  186. #186 Miltant Agnostic
    November 8, 2011

    Bruce of Canuckistan @184

    Our *MAYOR* made his fortune in woo.

    What woo and city would that be?

    As to the topic at hand – that is nude motorcycle racing, skydiving without a reserve chute, grizzly bear cub kicking level insane.

  187. #187 eripere
    November 9, 2011

    I don’t agree with vaccinations, I think parent should be the ones who decide about this. But I also think that the idea of a pox party is wrong, and that sending live viruses through the mail is worst and should be prevented by the law, because here we are not talking about the right of the parent over the children, but the danger of exposing innocent unaware people to a virus.

  188. #188 lilady
    November 9, 2011

    @ Eripere: Why after reading Orac’s blog and the excellent posts here, do you believe that parents have a “right” to deliberately infect their child?

    Do you not understand that the varicella zoster virus is also a herpes virus, which lies dormant in the human body and manifests itself at a later time in the form of painful herpes shingles disease?

    The “state” has the “right” to intervene whenever a parent puts a child at medical risk…indeed the “state” has the duty to intervene to protect children.

    You need to re-read the article and the posts for additional information about the risks to the developing fetus and to a newborn whose mothers become infected with chicken pox, due to parents deliberately infecting their children.

    Children and adults who are medically frail and are immune suppressed or immune compromised shouldn’t be put at risk by a deliberately infected child.

    Obviously, you don’t live in the United States, but I am certain wherever you are posting from, you will find similar provisions under public health law and social services laws to protect the populace and to intervene, whenever a parent deliberately exposes a child to a vaccine-preventable disease.

  189. #189 Julian Frost
    November 9, 2011

    I don’t agree with vaccinations, I think parent should be the ones who decide about this.

    Sorry, I don’t agree. There are parents who don’t strap their children in. There are people who refuse to wear seatbelts and insist that it makes them better drivers. There are people who think they are better drivers after they’ve had a few. There are parents who think that prayer makes medical intervention for their children unnecessary. All are wrong, and can be prosecuted for it.
    Vaccination is far safer than catching the disease naturally and is very effective at stopping diseases. Parents who refuse to vaccinate are wrong, and are endangering their children and others.

  190. #190 T-reg
    November 9, 2011

    @Mrs. Woo:
    Sorry for slightly deviating from the topic at hand, but while we are on the subject of nutrition…

    Being vegan might prove to be detrimental to some extent, but I disagree that meat consumption is the only way to get adequate protein in the diet. A good combination of cereals and pulses/legumes can provide adequate and quality protein in the diet.
    I come from a culture that has more than two thousand years history of being lacto-vegetarians (for religious reasons) and it clearly hasn’t proven to be detrimental to growth and development and we definitely are not a small number, either. Our regional cuisines have evolved over time to include a combination of cereals and pulses in every meal (though not because the science behind it was known) and that helps. Of course, milk and milk product consumption also supplements the protein intake but more importantly, is our only good source of Vitamin B12. Though I myself am not very religious, having grown up in the culture, I continue to be a lacto-vegetarian and has not proven to be detrimental to my health.
    I’m not condemning the consumption of meat (having been a meat eater myself for two years, at one point in my life). Just pointing out a flaw in your statement.

  191. #191 Drew Jacob
    November 9, 2011

    I contracted chickenpox at age 9 or so. I picked it up by accident (no pox party here) and here is how I remember it:

    Two weeks of bliss.

    Yeah, I itched, but we put calamine lotion on the pox and it wasn’t so bad. At the same time I got two full weeks off from school in the middle of the school year. It was like a dream come true.

    If there are serious risks associated with chicken pox, then yes these parties should be stopped; but let’s not imagine it as making the kids suffer. All the kids I knew thought of their chicken pox as a badge of honor and were excited to get to skip school.

  192. #192 Julian Frost
    November 9, 2011

    @Drew:

    I contracted chickenpox at age 9 or so. I picked it up by accident (no pox party here) and here is how I remember it: Two weeks of bliss.

    I was sick for only one week, but if I’m under severe stress I get mouth ulcers. My mother had chickenpox over 40 years ago and she still gets fever blisters. She and I are both at risk for shingles, as are you.
    Just because you had “two weeks of bliss” doesn’t mean evryone else did. If you click through to my blog (shameless plug), there is a post “Harmless Childhood Diseases?! Yeah, right!” One of the linked stories is of a boy who died of chicken pox.

  193. #193 Cerise
    November 9, 2011

    @Drew
    I was also nine when I got chicken pox. It was most definitely not bliss. I remember lying awake at night unable to sleep because of the itchy/crawling feeling on my skin. I couldn’t handle having anything even my clothing touch my skin because it made it worse. This was despite being painted with calamine lotion. I also had them down my throat. My three siblings also got CP at the same time (all younger than me) and none of us were sad to see the scabs clearing up regardless of how much time we got off school.
    I guess our stories can be a good example of why anecdotes are fairly meaningless.
    As for the vaccine, I’d rather my child get that over the infection.

  194. #194 Mrs. Woo
    November 9, 2011

    @T-Reg – I actually could be very supportive of the type of vegetarian diet you describe (you add milk products) and I know that very careful balancing of some non-meat products can balance a diet, but strict raw veganism (only vegetables, no dairy, no eggs) frequently can cause long-term issues.

    However, it’s been argued that a raw vegetable only diet (many of these even eschew grains and fruits as they push for an “alkaline only” diet) cannot get adequate protein or calories for survival. Since I’ve had various versions of the alkaline raw veggie vegan diet shared with me to “cure” me, I may have jumped to conclusions when she shared so gleefully that her family was going to live on nothing but green veggie smoothies and that they were going raw vegan.

    You’re right. Thank you for pointing out that I may have made assumptions.

  195. #195 T-reg
    November 9, 2011

    I’m actually not aware of the sort of diets that you mention. What you describe sounds appalling.
    The eschewing fruits and grains bit is ironic, because there is a religion which prescribes a diet of mainly fruits and grains, eschewing meat, fish, eggs, root vegetables and even leafy vegetables (the latter, only during certain times of the year). This is on grounds of non violence stretching the concept to involve plants.

  196. #196 lilady
    November 9, 2011

    @ Drew/Rogue Priest Blogger: You may have found your work nirvana by working at home, and you may offer some “spiritual” advice on your website…but you are not an expert on vaccine-preventable diseases.

    Why don’t you read this entire blog and the (non-troll) postings about the public health ramifications, the legal ramifications and the social implications of mailing “pox packages” to parents who will be deliberately infecting their child and putting others in the wider community at risk.

    What these parents are doing is violated man’s law and God’s law to protect innocent little kids and the most vulnerable people in our society.

    Simply stated it is child abuse…these parents are public health menaces.

  197. #197 Denice Walter
    November 9, 2011

    @ T-reg:
    There is a cornucopia of variants on veganism in Woo-topia especially the raw type ( see NaturalNews): some of which might actually work *against* maximum nutrition ( e.g. cooked broccoli is better than raw). I truly wonder how long people can maintain all of the restrictions and admonitions involved.It’s like a part-time job.

    Seriously, I would find it impossible; now “lacto”-makes more sense, giving us- *ras malai*, *malai kofta*, *paneer pakora*, *lassi*, *masala chai*, etc. Woo hoo!

  198. #198 Raincitygirl
    November 9, 2011

    Drew, I had two weeks of MISERY with the chickenpox when I was 11, as opposed to two weeks of bliss. I also went through extreme stress because my sister had a significantly worse case than I did, and had such a high fever she very nearly had to be hospitalized. I was terrified out of my mind, because a family friend had suffered severe brain damage due to a very high fever in her own childhood. Thinking your little sister may die or end up with severe brain damage is NOT fun. Luckily she didn’t, but I defintiely wouldn’t call the experience “bliss”.

  199. #199 Calli Arcale
    November 9, 2011

    lilady:

    Calli is more concerned with prosecuting the “mommy suppliers” of the virus-laden lollipops…rather than the “mommy recipients” who deliberately infect their kids.

    Well, yes. The “mommy recipient” is only planning to infect her own kids. Probably two or three people. The distributor is planning to infect as many as humanly possible. The distributor is also the one chiefly promoting the practice. I don’t agree with either of these people, but I am much angrier with the distributor. The parent is dangerously misguided; the distributor is a predator. I am far more upset with the Geiers than with the parents of their patients, for the same reason.

    You mention the possibility of “start-up kits”, but if the recipient becomes a distributor, that changes their classification, doesn’t it?

  200. #200 Calli Arcale
    November 9, 2011

    Mrs Woo:

    However, I’ve known a few kids who have had very disruptive home lives and I know that it is very traumatic for all involved to have a child removed from a home. If a child is not in immediate danger and it’s a matter of educating parents better about risk vs. benefit of vaccines and the relative risk they will take trusting strangers to mail them viruses, I’d rather have social services supervision and intervention rather than a child removed.

    This cannot be stated enough, in my opinion. While I think it is wrong for these parents to leave their children unvaccinated when they do not have any specific medical reason to avoid the vaccine, removing the children would be a pretty draconian response, and it would do more harm than good. You have to think about the end goal. If your main goal is to punish wrongdoers, then perhaps it makes sense. But if your main goal is to make sure the children have a decent chance at a healthy life, it doesn’t make sense. If the only thing their parents have ever done that’s wrong is to deny them vaccination, then you will be putting them through enormous emotional stress at a sensitive developmental period merely to reduce their risk of contracting diseases which are not very common anymore. Granted, these diseases are uncommon precisely because of vaccination — but CPS isn’t supposed to be taking a community-level view. They’re supposed to be taking the children’s view, and for the individual children, removing them from their home would likely be far more damaging than allowing them to remain unvaccinated. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, and don’t punish children because their parents have weird beliefs.

    Note: it is not actually illegal to refuse routine vaccination for your children (a point Sid Offit seems not to grasp), and as far as I know, it’s not illegal to let your child suck on a sucker that a sick kid has had in their mouth. Not yet, anyway. It’s just incredibly gross and certainly needlessly risky. But it IS illegal to knowingly mail infectious substances without the appropriate packaging and labeling, so while I do not support arresting the parents who buy these suckers, I definitely support arresting the parents who sell them. Yes, it will be harmful for their children to see their parents taken away, but in that case, their parents represent a threat to public safety.

  201. #201 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.

  202. #202 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.

  203. #203 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.

  204. #204 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.

  205. #205 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.

  206. #206 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….

  207. #207 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.

  208. #208 Gray Falcon
    November 9, 2011

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

  209. #209 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.

  210. #210 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.

  211. #211 ed haslett
    November 9, 2011

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

  212. #212 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.

  213. #213 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.

  214. #214 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.

  215. #215 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.

  216. #216 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.

  217. #217 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).

  218. #218 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.

  219. #219 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.

  220. #220 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.

  221. #221 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?

  222. #222 lilady
    November 10, 2011

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

  223. #223 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.

  224. #224 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).

  225. #225 lilady
    November 10, 2011

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

  226. #226 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.

  227. #227 Reuben
    November 10, 2011

    you’re an infection promoter

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

  228. #228 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.

  229. #229 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.

  230. #230 lilady
    November 10, 2011

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

  231. #231 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

  232. #232 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.

  233. #233 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.

  234. #234 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?

  235. #235 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.

  236. #236 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.

  237. #237 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.

  238. #238 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.

  239. #239 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

  240. #240 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.

  241. #241 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

  242. #242 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.

  243. #243 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)

  244. #244 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.

  245. #245 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.

  246. #246 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.

  247. #247 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.

  248. #248 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.

  249. #249 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.

  250. #250 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?

  251. #251 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.

  252. #252 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.

  253. #253 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.

  254. #254 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?

  255. #255 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.

  256. #256 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.”

  257. #257 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.

  258. #258 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.

  259. #259 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.

  260. #260 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.

  261. #261 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.

  262. #262 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.

  263. #263 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.

  264. #264 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.

  265. #265 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.

  266. #266 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.”

  267. #267 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

  268. #268 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.

  269. #269 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.

  270. #270 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.

  271. #271 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.

  272. #272 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.

  273. #273 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.

  274. #274 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?

  275. #275 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.

  276. #276 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.

  277. #277 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?

  278. #278 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?

  279. #279 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.

  280. #280 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.

  281. #281 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.

  282. #282 lilady
    November 11, 2011

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

  283. #283 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.

  284. #284 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.

  285. #285 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.

  286. #286 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.

  287. #287 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

  288. #288 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.

  289. #289 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”?

  290. #290 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.)

  291. #291 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.

  292. #292 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”.

  293. #293 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.

  294. #294 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.

  295. #295 Th1Th2
    November 12, 2011

    Luna the cat,

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

  296. #296 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.

  297. #297 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.

  298. #298 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).

  299. #299 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.

  300. #300 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.

  301. #301 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!)

  302. #302 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.

  303. #303 ken
    November 12, 2011

    The unvaccinated are not always to blame for outbreaks-

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

  304. #304 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.

  305. #305 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.

  306. #306 Narad
    November 12, 2011

    The unvaccinated are not always to blame for outbreaks-

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

  307. #307 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

  308. #308 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

  309. #309 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.

  310. #310 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.

  311. #311 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?

  312. #312 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)

  313. #313 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.

  314. #314 lilady
    November 12, 2011

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

  315. #315 Chris
    November 12, 2011

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

  316. #316 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.

  317. #317 Chris
    November 12, 2011

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

  318. #318 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.

  319. #319 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.

  320. #320 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!

  321. #321 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.

  322. #322 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

  323. #323 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.

  324. #324 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?

  325. #325 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.

  326. #326 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.

  327. #327 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.

  328. #328 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.

  329. #329 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.

  330. #330 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.

  331. #331 lilady
    November 15, 2011

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

  332. #332 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?

  333. #333 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

  334. #334 lurker
    November 15, 2011

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

  335. #335 Lawrence
    November 15, 2011

    Every day & twice on Sunday – Mr. Lurker.

  336. #336 lilady
    November 15, 2011

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

  337. #337 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.

  338. #338 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.

  339. #339 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.

  340. #340 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.”

  341. #341 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.

  342. #342 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.

  343. #343 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.

  344. #344 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”.

  345. #345 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

  346. #346 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?

  347. #347 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