Health Officials Warn Parents to Stay Away From ‘Measles Parties’

We’ve heard of slumber parties, Tupperware parties, and even Botox parties. But measles parties? Believe it or not, they just might be a thing.

On Monday, California health officials cautioned individuals to avoid intentional exposure to measles after reports that some parents were considering hosting so-called ‘measles parties’ for their children. The purpose of the social gatherings is to intentionally expose one to the virus in the hope of building up immunity, thereby negating the need for a vaccine.

The California Department of Health said it did not have specific information about the alleged parties or how many were actually occurring. Nevertheless, officials moved swiftly to dispel any myths about the purported benefits of intentional exposure.

“CDPH strongly recommends against the intentional exposure of children to measles as it unnecessarily places the exposed children at potentially grave risk and could contribute to further spread,” said California Department of Public Health spokeswoman Anita Gore.

Marin County Public Health Officer Matt Willis also pleaded with parents to keep their children away from any measles events. His county has the highest rates of unvaccinated children in the Bay Area, with 6.5% of kindergartners lacking up-to-date vaccination records.

Monday’s statements are reminiscent of federal warnings issued in 2011 against intentional exposure to chicken pox. Those were sparked by reports of vaccine-wary parents swapping chicken pox-laden lollipops to each other by mail.

The number of confirmed measles cases in California has reached 107, with the latest case hitting the County of Solano. At least 39 of those cases are linked to the outbreak that began at Disneyland in December.

Read more about Monday’s warnings here.


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