Swine Flu Parties Unsafe: Doc

Exposing kids to virus is a bad idea, pediatrician says
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2009 4:24 PM CDT
In this May 4, 2009 file photo, Fred Moiola Elementary School students, from left, Sammy Arne, Alix Gast and Kyle Edwards ride their bikes outside the closed school in Fountain Valley, Calif. The school...   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
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(Newser) – Parents who are throwing “swine flu parties” to get kids together in hopes of exposing them to the virus now, while it is in a weaker form, are on the wrong track, says a prominent pediatrician. Responding to a question from a US News and World Report reader, Thomas Sandora says the DIY immunizing technique is definitely not a good idea: "Swine flu parties are a dangerous gamble and a big mistake.”

"It is true that infection with an influenza virus can produce immunity to that strain—that's the principle by which vaccination works," Sandora explains. "However, catching this novel H1N1 flu virus can be extremely dangerous. More than 500 people have died already from the virus in the United States alone." He concludes: "Intentionally exposing your child to a potentially fatal infection is never a risk worth taking."