The book ‘Melanie's Marvellous Measles’, by “natural health advocate” Stephanie Messenger promotes the idea that catching measles is good for children, indeed it encourages the deliberate exposure of children to measles.
The book claims that vaccinating against measles is unnecessary and that measles can "make the body stronger". Furthermore, the fact that this inaccurate and dangerous material is in the form of a picture book aimed at impressionable children is particularly insidious.
Adding insult to injury, the book appears to copy its title from “George’s Marvellous Medicine” by Roald Dahl. Mr Dahl became a passionate advocate of immunisation after his own daughter died as a result of measles.
Cases of measles in Australia are now very rare due to widespread vaccination programs. The World Health Organisation reports that globally nearly 380 people die from measles each day (almost 140,000 a year) - most of these deaths are children under the age of five living in poor countries. Measles is a very serious viral infection and can result in a number of complications including blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhoea, and pneumonia. While those who are lucky enough to recover from measles will have a lifetime immunity consensus from health professionals is that the vaccine is the safest way (by far) to develop immunity.
The World Health Organisation has a fact sheet on measles: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs286/en/ and last year the Australian Academy of Science developed a document "The Science of Immunisation: questions and answers" in response to increasing misinformation in Australia about vaccines and their safety. http://www.science.org.au/policy/immunisation.html
The book "Melanie's Marvellous Measles" is defended by the author as an exercise of freedom of speech. The information presented in the book is not only misleading, it advances an ideology that discourages measles vaccination and indeed actively promotes the dangerous practice of exposing children to the virus. This ideology is not supported by any medical evidence and cases of measles in children as a result of the ideas advocated in this book will result in hospitalisations and possibly deaths of young children in Australia (and elsewhere).
Please ask booksellers Pearson Australia Group (Incorporating Angus and Robertson and Bookworld) to halt the sale of this dangerous propaganda in any forum.
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