Talk of swine flu parties has emerged on Internet forums. The idea is that exposing a child to the H1N1 virus while it remains relatively mild will give the child immunity if the virus returns in a more virulent form later on.
The idea is an extension of chicken pox and measles parties that were once a popular way of exposing children to those diseases so that they might acquire resistance to subsequent infections.
But health officials have been quick to condemn the idea. Speaking at a conference, Dr Richard Jarvis, chairman of the British Medical Association's public health committee, said "I have heard of reports of people throwing swine flu parties. I don't think it is a good idea.
"I would not want it myself. It is quite a mild virus, but people still get ill and there is a risk of mortality."
Last month, Richard Besser, the acting head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also warned against deliberately exposing people to the virus.
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