So far this year, there have been over 100 cases of measles in California. And based on the latest news out of Marin County, we may see that number continue to climb over the next few weeks, because some anti-vaxxer parents are setting up measles parties to expose their kids to the virus in a ‘natural’ way. I’m sure the kids are enjoying the natural disease, the natural hospitalization, and the natural diarrhea–not to mention the potential for natural (and fatal) subacute sclerosing panencephalitis ten years down the line! Aren’t parties great?
Doctors and public health officials in California are warning parents not to take their children to measles parties, and I assume the statements released on the subject are all followed up by a giant “DUH, seriously, WTF is wrong with you people?!” because I can’t believe this is something that needs to be said. I know chicken pox parties are still something that happens, because why vaccinate when you can put your child at risk for a future case of incredibly painful shingles? Chicken pox parties are bad enough, but measles? Seriously? Does Marin County realize what decade this is? Or even what century?
So much for that whole demand for “personal choice” the anti-vaxxers love to flog. Leaving aside the danger to the kids whose parents blithely haul them towards these plague-tastic social gatherings, purposeful attempts to your infect your kids with the virus are almost certainly going to have ripple effects outside of your own idiotic family circle. Unless you expose your kids (and yourself by extension) to the virus and then immediately retreat directly to a self-imposed quarantine for the next few weeks while the disease runs its course, you are making yourself into Public Health Enemy #1.
Measles is contagious for days before symptoms show up, so if you take care to get measles’ all up in your kids’ faces and then go to the drugstore, school, or day care, you’re gambling with the health and safety of every infant, every pregnant woman, and every immunocompromised patient that crosses your path. But sure, we have to respect your all-important, sacred “personal choice” not to vaccinate. And the people who would like to make the personal choice not to be exposed to the measles virus? Too bad for them, apparently.
Please. Do not take your child to a measles party. Do not buy him a measles-tainted lollipop on Ebay or Craigslist or wherever it is people sell all-natural biohazard waste like that. Do not sacrifice your kids’ safety on the altar of ‘natural’. And if you do? Stay the hell away from my family.