Mailing Chickenpox Illegal and Ineffective
Mail an envelope containing anthrax through the mail or via a delivery service and you are committing not only a crime but a federal offense. Mail a lollipop or container of saliva from a child with chickenpox to another parent and you are facing the same penalties.
Remember the anthrax mail scares a few years ago? Envelopes coming through the mail with a white powder caused fear in the many and had the power to evacuate entire buildings. Today, many parents are engaging in an activity just as illegal. Mailing lollipops licked by children with chickenpox or saliva from infected children to other parents in the hopes of avoiding the chickenpox vaccine. It is a federal crime to send diseases or viruses through the United States Postal Service or private delivery services such as Fed Ex or UPS. Those that are engaging in this very risky behavior can face penalties of up to 20 years in federal prison.
In addition to it being illegal, according to health professionals, mailing infected lollipops or saliva from a child with the chickenpox is also highly ineffective, according to Isaac Thomsen, a pediatric infectious disease specialist. The chickenpox virus is typically spread through inhalation. While transmittal in the method being touted online via social media and other groups is possible, is it highly unlikely. What is likely, according to Thomsen, is the spread of far more dangerous diseases, such as hepatitis.
The dangerous new craze has come to light after a federal prosecutor at the United States Attorney's Office in Tennessee reacted to reports that Facebook and other internet groups are trying to connect parents with children with chickenpox and parents who are anti-vaccine. The groups are attempting to create a 21st century online version of neighborhood chickenpox parties where parents would commonly get neighborhood kids together to play at an infected child's home in order to get the disease.
Parents who want to avoid having their children receive the chickenpox vaccine are placing the children at a serious, and far greater, health risk by literally trading spit with total strangers. In addition to the unhealthy nature of the practice, it is also highly illegal.