Talk about poisoning the well: there’s a new book out by Stephanie Messenger called Melanie’s Marvelous Measles. It’s an anxi-vaxer book for kids! The Amazon page describes the contents:
Melanie’s Marvelous Measles was written to educate children on the benefits of having measles and how you can heal from them naturally and successfully. Often today, we are being bombarded with messages from vested interests to fear all diseases in order for someone to sell some potion or vaccine, when, in fact, history shows that in industrialized countries, these diseases are quite benign and, according to natural health sources, beneficial to the body. Having raised three children vaccine-free and childhood disease-free, I have experienced many times when my children’s vaccinated peers succumb to the childhood diseases they were vaccinated against. Surprisingly, there were times when my unvaccinated children were blamed for their peers’ sickness. Something which is just not possible when they didn’t have the diseases at all. Stephanie Messenger lives in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and devotes her life to educating people about vaccine dangers and supporting families in their natural health choices. She has the support of many natural therapists and natural-minded doctors.
Well, the book appears to have been inspired by anecdotes, but, as Salon (where I heard about this book) notes, measles is not a benign disease. Here’s what the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) says:
Why is vaccination necessary?
In the decade before the measles vaccination program began, an estimated 3–4 million persons in the United States were infected each year, of whom 400–500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and another 1,000 developed chronic disability from measles encephalitis. Widespread use of measles vaccine has led to a greater than 99% reduction in measles cases in the United States compared with the pre-vaccine era.
However, measles is still common in other countries. The virus is highly contagious and can spread rapidly in areas where vaccination is not widespread. It is estimated that in 2006 there were 242,000 measles deaths worldwide—that equals about 663 deaths every day or 27 deaths every hour. If vaccinations were stopped, measles cases would return to pre-vaccine levels and hundreds of people would die from measles-related illnesses.
The CDC also reports (the link goes to a pdf summarizing various studies) that side effects from the vaccine are very rare, and previous reports that thimoseral (a preservative used in vaccines) causes “vaccine-related autism” (cf. Jenny McCarthy) have been shown to be completely wrong. (Thimoseral is no longer used anyway.) Plus (my emphasis):
What are possible side effects of vaccination?
Each person is unique and may react differently to vaccination.
Occasionally, people who receive a vaccine do not respond to it and may still get the illness the vaccine was meant to protect them against.
In most cases, vaccines are effective and cause no side effects, or only mild reactions such as fever or soreness at the injection site.
Very rarely, people experience more serious side effects, like allergic reactions. Be sure to tell your health care provider if you have health problems or known allergies to medications or food.
Severe reactions to vaccines occur so rarely that the risk is difficult to calculate.
Fortunately, the commenters at Amazon aren’t falling for this book—perhaps the most dangerous children’s book around since, if read and used properly, it will result in deaths. Here’s the Amazon rating:
h/t: Miss May