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Parent DELIBERATELY infect their child with chicken pox? "Pox party" and "pox-tagrams" are making people sick!

Updated on May 7, 2012


It is the job of every parent to do the best for their children.

So what sort of misguided intent would lead a parent to DELIBERATELY INFECT THEIR CHILD with a communicable disease?

Yet that is exactly that hundreds, perhaps thousands of parents are doing... deliberately infecting their child with chicken pox by soliciting "pox-tagrams", which are packages mailed out by parents with child that is currently sick with chicken pox, containing items that can be used to INFECT OTHERS with chicken pox! (KPHO TV in Phoenix AZ report)

No, I am not making this up! Some parents are DELIBERATELY INFECTING THEIR CHILDREN by giving them candy laced with chicken pox virus!

What could have lead such parents to do such a crazy and ILLEGAL thing?

Fear of Vaccination Leads to CRAZIER Risks

Recently, news reports out of Phoenix have covered a woman in the Nashville Tennessee are that is sending out pox-tagrams after being solicited through Facebook group called "Find a Pox Party In Your Area". (Read Reuters article)

The recipients of pox-tagrams are trying to avoid the chicken pox vaccine given to their children by deliberately infecting their children with chicken pox, solicited through the mail. The pox-tagrams are often used tissue or cotton ball with saliva and other items from the sick child, simply packed in a plastic zip bag. At other times, it's candy or lollipop licked by a sick child.

In fact, this woman in Teneessee is advertising INFECTED LOLLIPOPS for $50 EACH! (See article in Medical News Today)

Frankly, this is BEYOND STUPIDITY, for some very simple reasons:

  • It is ILLEGAL to send viruses, germs, or any other bio-hazard material through US postal service, or any other carrier unless properly marked, labelled, and packaged. To the government, this is not that different from sending anthrax through mail! (albeit anthrax is a Class A biohazard, and chicken pox is class B, see USPS regulations 346.12a)
  • In fact, the Facebook group WARNS you that you are indeed breaking the law by shipping such content without proper labeling!
  • It is ILLEGAL to tamper with / adulterate food (even candy) with foreign agents! Violations can be prosecuted under FEDERAL law!
  • You don't know if the stuff that arrived contains any OTHER nasty stuff, such as hepatitis, influenza, encephalitis, and other illnesses!
  • In fact, doctors warn that a licked lollipop or spit don't have enough cells for the virus to live in, thus most of it would have died in transit, but MORE DANGEROUS virii and germs may remain! (see article on Huffingtonpost)
  • There is no proven risk of vaccination! Child will get sick for NOTHING!
  • Actual infection of chicken pox makes the child more vulnerable to "shingles" later in life! (read more about "shingles")
  • Unless you quarantine your child immediately after infection until total recovery, your child is a source of infection even if s/he has no symptoms, and that infection can KILL young babies and people with compromised immune systems! (read more about "herd immunity")

Frankly, this is "cutting off the nose to spite the face"! To avoid the phantom threat of chicken pox vaccine, these parents are taking INSANE risks, not only with their child, but with OTHER PEOPLE'S LIVES!

Legal and medical community are outraged by behavior of such parents! US attorneys in various jurisdictions are warning such parents: STOP, or you may face FEDERAL PROSECUTION! Medical doctors in Center for Disease Control (the HQ for all infectious disease research in the US) are horrified. Such an idea is... crazy! There is no proven risk of chicken pox vaccine, so why do such a stupid thing, with so many drawbacks, but no 'benefit' at all?

Frankly, this is medieval, in the most literal sense! People HUNDREDS of years ago, with NO understanding of vaccination, disease propagation, or proper medicine, would do such a thing. But in the modern age with wonders of modern medicine? What sort of madness is this?!?!?!

This is idiocy in the utmost degree!


Some stupidities are self-correcting, such as the "Darwin-Award" nominee sort (where the stupidity is enough to clean the perps out of the gene pool).

Other sorts of stupidity, that affects others, muchless one's own CHILDREN, is appalling beyond contemplation.

And such madness must be stopped.


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish MS 

      5 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      That's an excellent suggestion!

    • kschang profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA

      Get local media to cover it. They LOVE covering stupidity like this. My local TV station has a news segment called "people behaving badly". This would be perfect for that.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish MS 

      5 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Good article. I'm angry, because since school is about to start for 2013 - 2014, some people are suggesting pox parties all over again. I've written about it, as have you, and I hope more people write about unlawful practice of pox parties and save some lives.

    • kschang profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA

      @Tamarind -- nowadays, nobody get chicken pox BECAUSE of the vaccine... except for these individuals who insist on catching "the real thing". *sigh*

      To me, it's like the difference between watching a horror movie vs. actually confronting a serial killer and surviving. I'd know which one I'd take. :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      In the late 80's early 90's chicken pox was considered a childhood illness that nearly everyone got. If you didn't when you were a kid, your parent or parents were scared to think of their child potentially dying from it when you became an adult. When I contracted it when I was a child my mother rubbed the chicken pox sore I had on my other two siblings so we would all get it at once and it would be hopefully over soon. It seemed crazy and cruel to me at the time but I have to say it makes some sense. Now there is a vaccine and a child can possibly forgo the illness and the chance of shingles when they are older, but there are risks with the illness and the vaccine. Life is full of risks.

    • privateye2500 profile image


      7 years ago from Canada, USA, London

      TahoeDoc! Thx for the good belly laugh!!!!

    • kschang profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA

      @I'm a mom -- you're assuming that 1) you are *sure* that it's chicken pox your kid's gonna get (and nothing else), and 2) your kid is going to be just fine with chicken pox (no complications), and only mildly sick.

      The Varicella vaccine, after decades of study, is proven to be 70% to 90% effective in preventing chicken pox infection, and 95% effective in preventing SEVERE chicken pox symptoms. Vaccinated children may get sick, but they will VERY unlikely to get VERY sick. Whereas at a pox party, you never know how your kid's going to react: mild, or bad.

      I can SORT of see the logic of pox parties, though I do NOT agree with them as to me, the risks outweighs the rewards, but you can make up your own mind. On the other hand, MAILING INFECTED MATERIAL is idiocy to the utmost.

    • profile image

      I'm a Mom 

      7 years ago

      Really? Really... *rolls eyes*

      This is not a new thing. Our own moms did it! We all had chicken pox as kiddos. It's not that big a deal..

      The fact is my son is vaccine FREE and if there where a pox party near me of course I'd take him. The fact is 1 in 4 vaccinated children get chicken pox anyway! And while having pox as a child makes you immune for LIFE, the vaccine wears off. As an adult you become vulnerable again. And everyone knows having pox as an adult is far more dangerous.

    • mathair profile image


      7 years ago from Ireland

      Kschang I just want to clarify that I 100% agree with immunising children against dangerous illness. However at the moment the vaccine for chickenpox is not available to children in Ireland and therefore good hygiene and isolation are the best practices in order to protect others with low immunity.

    • TahoeDoc profile image


      7 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California

      I...can't...even...I can't even comment right now. I have no words for this, this level of insanity. WOW. This is...WOW. Thanks for writing this one.

      It is hard to leave me speechless...

    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 

      7 years ago

      Oh my. Thanks for sharing about this absurd practice, kschang.

    • kschang profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA

      @mathair -- varicella (i.e. Chicken pox) vaccine has been available since 1995. What you believe about immunization is your belief, but sending INFECTIOUS MATERIAL through mail is inexcusable.

      As for percentage of shingles... cites statistics that says anywhere from 0.4 to 1.2% (4.1 to 11.8 out of 1000) of seniors (over 65) get shingles. That's hardly "small number", considering that in the US, over 13% of population are seniors. (Not sure about your country)

    • mathair profile image


      7 years ago from Ireland

      In the country that I live in we nurse our children through chickenpox which is seen as a common childhood illness. With proper care and attention it is over within a week. The only risk is to a child who already has a weakened immune system who can then receive an immunisation. Very few people actually develop shingles. I would be more concerned about exposing my child to another vaccine than to a common childhood illness. I do not agree with the pox party or any other such measures - as I said children need hygiene but I do believe that the younger that they come in contact with chickenpox, the sooner they will get it over with! (sorry for long post!)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      The answer to your question is "stupid parents."


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