While a measles outbreak grips the US and health professionals seek to stem the tide, anti-vaxxers have published a book to convince children that the deadly disease is “marvelous.”
Melanie’s Marvelous Measles is available on Amazon, and sets out to persuade 4-10-year-old children that the measles is actually pretty fun, has no serious possible side-effects, and is something kids should look forward to getting.
The book includes such inspired medical advice as :
- measles is easily avoided by drinking melon juice
- vaccines weaken the human immune system,
- getting measles strengthens it (as does melon juice).
A brief overview of the ridiculous cast of characters in this poorly written and down-right dangerous piece of anti-vaccination propaganda is as follows:
- The main character Melanie was vaccinated but got measles anyway, the “worst case” the doctor had ever seen. So she runs around with a big grin, full of energy, showing off her cool red dots.
- Melanie’s mom responds to her daughter getting measles (in a classroom that apparently has a 50% vaccination rate) by exclaiming: “so much for vaccination!”
- Melanie’s un-vaccinated classmate Tina is protected from measles by all the melon and carrot juice she drinks. This makes her sad, because she’d love to catch the measles.
- Then there is Jared, the baddie. He’s a boy in class who believes in vaccination. He is a mean, eats junk food, and comes down with the measles anyway (because vaccines don’t work, Jared).
A more wrong-headed children’s title you could not find. The book has zero intellectual or scientific merit, and will serve only to endanger children.
Thankfully, judging by the reviews on Amazon – not everyone is fooled. Here are a couple of my favorites.
I had to stop there, but he goes right through the alphabet.
This reviewer however opted for harrowing personal experience over satire.
Deborah is right. Measles is not marvelous. In children below 5 and adults over 20-years-old, it can cause life-altering and fatal complications. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC):
- As many as one out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, the most common cause of death from measles in young children.
- About one child out of every 1,000 who get measles will develop encephalitis (swelling of the brain) that can lead to convulsions and can leave the child deaf or mentally retarded.
- For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it.
And now, thanks to the anti-vaccination movement, the US has a measles outbreak.
As The Guardian reports:
More than 100 cases across 14 states and Washington DC have been confirmed by US health officials since an outbreak began at Disneyland last December. With a majority of those infections in unvaccinated people, widespread blame – from Washington to the rest of the world – has fallen on parents who chose not to vaccinate their children.
While the anti-vaxxer movement is attempting to frame the matter as one of personal choice, the scientific community have long held that the vaccination issue is one of public safety. It affects entire communities.
“When you immunize your child, you’re not only immunizing your child. That child’s immunization is contributing to the control of the disease in the population,” explains Edwards explained.
That sheltering effect is called herd immunity: a population that is highly immunized makes for a virus that can’t spread easily, providing protection to the community – or the herd – as a whole. There are groups of people who cannot be vaccinated for age or health-related reasons – and they are protected by those around them being vaccinated.
While the overall measles vaccination rate in the US is high, vaccine skeptics – and their unimmunized kids – often congregate in like-minded communities, creating pockets of under-immunization. California is one such state, one of 20 states that allow parents to skip vaccination based on their personal, philosophical beliefs. It is no surprise then that the bulk of current measles cases can be found there.
It is as simple as this: It is personally and socially irresponsible to opt out of vaccination programs. If you do not vaccinate your child, you are putting them and everyone else at risk. Please, for all our sakes, do not place decades of advances in public health in peril on the basis of unsubstantiated gossip.