A Nashville, Tennessee woman has caused a stir by offering for sale spit, cotton swabs, and lollipops that were licked by her chickenpox-infected children. The offer, which she posted on Facebook, was meant to help parents who wanted to expose their children to the varicella virus instead of giving them the vaccine against the chickenpox.
State health officials were horrified at the prospect, and pointed out that not only is the varicella vaccine much safer for children than getting the disease itself, but spreading the virus could pose a serious risk to children who can't be vaccinated because they are undergoing cancer treatment or have other health problems.
Deaths caused by chickenpox have plummeted since the vaccine was introduced in 1995, according to a study published in July.
Before the vaccine was introduced, parents would sometimes expose their children to others who were sick with the disease, so the children would have a reduced risk of serious infection as adults. The idea has since been adopted by some parents leery of vaccines.
NPR reported that once the story caught the attention of health officials, the Facebook page now offers "pox parties" for local families only--no shipping of items allowed.
(image via: http://www.free-extras.com/)