Some Nashville moms have been offering to sell lollipops that have been licked by children with chicken pox, according to WSMV in Nashville. The thought process is that healthy children who lick these pops will contract the disease and then become immune to it.
The station reported that Wendy Werkit of Nashville offered a "fresh
batch of pox in Nashville shipping of suckers, spit and Q-tips available
tomorrow 50 dollars via PayPal" through a Facebook page named Find a Pox Party in Your Area. The site has since been taken down.
The activity caused Jerry Martin, U.S. attorney for the Middle
District of Tennessee, to issue a warning to moms wanting to trade in
contaminated candy. It is a federal crime to send diseases or viruses
lines, whether through the postal service or private services such as FedEx.
Sending the lollipops is illegal under the same law that makes it a
mail contagions like anthrax. Conviction could lead to a sentence from
a year to 20 years in prison, he said.
"Can you imagine getting a package in the mail from this complete stranger
that you know from Facebook because you joined a group, and say, "Here, drink this
purported spit from some other kid"? Martin told the Associated Press.
Short Order contacted another Facebook page, Find a Pox Party Near You, which brings moms together who want to have a pox party -- where children visit the home of a child with chicken pox. The thought is that this is a safer alternative to the vaccine.
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Janessa Cox, a site administrator who has a master's degree in immunology and microbiology, does not condone the sale of infected items. She sent us a statement via email: "I am absolutely unaware of why someone would consider sending chicken pox through the mail. I have always been against it (although I've always been aware of it) and always speak up about my thoughts when I see it happening. It's extremely dangerous.
"Some people are desperate for their children to contract chicken pox naturally to gain natural immunity. Through that desperation, some people choose to do things that are not safe."
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