An illegal mail-order scheme in the US is allowing parents to order lollipops licked by children infected with chickenpox. Parents keen to infect their own children are said to order the infected lollipops to deliberately expose their children to the disease.
By allowing children to come into contact with the chickenpox disease through the sharing of saliva, they’re also at serious risk of contracting highly dangerous diseases such as Hepatitis, claims Dr Isaac Thomsen, a US specialist in pediatric infectious diseases.
Doctors and authorities in the US are urging parents to see the danger in such an unsafe and unregulated scheme. Authorities are also keen to impress upon the public that such a scheme is highly illegal. Actively sending a disease through the postal system is a federal crime in America that can carry a sentence of up to 20 years if convicted.
A chickenpox vaccine, varicella, was approved in the US in 1995. As a result of this, all states insist that children are vaccinated before they enter daycare or school. However, fears over the ineffectiveness of this vaccine and whether or not ingredients are actually harmful to children has led to parents taking the issue into their own hands.
Worries are also mounting over Facebook groups in Phoenix and Nashville, which are encouraging parents to ensure their children obtain so called ‘natural immunity’. Not only does this include the mail-order scheme, but also ‘Pox Parties’ that encourage groups of children to meet up and share the disease through various infected items.