Published: Nov 04, 2011 7:32 PM EDT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A federal prosecutor is warning parents not to try a new scheme for dodging vaccines: sending items infected with chickenpox through the mail.
    
Jerry Martin, the U.S. attorney in Nashville, pointed out it's illegal and unsafe to mail contagious items. Martin told The Associated Press he decided to speak out after WSMV-TV interviewed him about virus exchanges in Tennessee.
    
Parents trying to expose children to chickenpox are using social media sites like Facebook to find sources of the virus. WSMV-TV reported a Nashville woman was charging $50 to overnight lollipops she claimed were sucked on by children infected with the virus.
    
Isaac Thomsen, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, said such items likely wouldn't transmit chicken pox but could cause more dangerous infections, including hepatitis.

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