Not being a parent, I was startled some years ago when old friends told me that they had deliberately sent their two young kids to a party to catch chicken pox from an infected child. Apparently, some Americans are considering the idea of swine flu parties as a way to catch the milder version of the disease now before the fall comes when a more deadly version might emerge. According to the New York Times:
Infectious-disease specialists say they understand the logic: surviving the current, apparently mild strain of the virus may be protective if a more virulent strain emerges next fall. But they are generally against it….
"I think it's totally nuts," Dr. Moscona said. "I can't believe people are really thinking of doing it. I understand the thinking, but I just fear we don't know enough about how this virus would react in every individual. This is like the Middle Ages, when people deliberately infected themselves with smallpox. It's vigilante vaccination — you know, taking immunity into your own hands."
Whole Times story can be found here.