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Public Health Officials Warn Against Intentional Exposure To Measles

LOS ANGELES ( — Concern is growing that parents who haven't vaccinated their children against the measles may expose them intentionally vis-à-vis parties in an effort to build immunity.

"Instead of like a gift bag from a party, you end up with an infectious disease. Parents would rather give their child the disease than the vaccination," Dr. Charles Sophy, the medical director for the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services, said.

Sophy says the abuse hotline has received several recent calls from people concerned about measles parties.

"The bottom line is it is not abuse because it is a parent's decision to vaccinate or not. But what can come out of that could be looked at as abuse if there's bad health care or there's other problems," the doctor said.

It's rare for children to die from measles but one in 1,000 do. Other children get permanent brain damage.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reports that 30 percent of people with measles in the current California outbreak have been hospitalized.

Dr. Gil Chavez of the CDPH issued a statement that said: "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 of the outbreak."

"There's nothing worse than a parent thinking they've done the right thing for their child and they end up with a bad outcome," Sophy said.

KCAL9's Erica Nochlin spoke with a parent, who doesn't get her children vaccinated, but said she would never participate in a measles party.

Public health officials said Friday that 103 have contracted the measles since the outbreak began

Since the outbreak began, 103 people have contracted the measles, public health officials said Friday. According to the Associated Press, two-thirds of those cases were infected while visiting or working at Disneyland in December.

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