OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) -- The news about Bay Area parents holding "measles parties" spread like wildfire across the country, but KTVU found out there is no actual proof these parties are actually happening.
The parties were reportedly a way for un-vaccinated children to catch measles by hanging out with sick children in an attempt to build their immune system. The story sounds similar to chicken pox parties in the past.
KTVU did some digging on the issue. A google search for a Bay Area "measles party" only pulled up media reports. A search on Craigslist for one came up empty.
Spokespeople for county health departments in San Francisco, Contra Costa, Alameda, Santa Clara all reported that they do not have any proof or reports of measles parties happening.
KTVU also reached out to a Marin County mother and anti-vaccine supporter on Facebook who was quoted by another media outlet. The woman messaged back and said the story was fabricated out of thin air and said "no party ever happened."
So how did the story start making national headlines? It appears it may have stemmed from a statement the California Department of Public Health gave in response to media requests for comment. The statement reads:
"The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) does not have any information to share about the background or frequency of pox parties. But 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. Measles is a serious illness that can have significant consequences. Thirty percent of people with measles in the current California outbreak have been hospitalized."
The advice is echoed by Alameda County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Erica Pan.
"Measles is a very infectious disease," Pan said. "It has a 90 percent attack rate for anyone who is not immune."
She said she would discourage parents from purposely getting their children sick.
"I would hate to see that happen intentionally… when it's a disease we can prevent," she added.
It appears that won't be a problem since there is no proof these "measles parties" exist.