Did you know that the number of U.S. children who don’t receive any vaccines has QUADRUPLED since 2001? For the majority of parents who do vaccinate and are well-versed on the dangers of abstaining, it’s a very scary statistic. For years, medical professionals have warned against the “anti-vaxxing” trend, stating that the group has wrongfully demonized these lifesaving medical miracles. Perhaps unsurprisingly, parents everywhere are beginning to feel the repercussions; just look at the State of Washington who is currently under a state of emergency due to its mounting number of measles cases.

So, now that the re-emergence of measles might just be the first widespread consequence of having so many unvaccinated children in our country, we think it’s all time that we take a tip from one of the most iconic American writers ever, Roald Dahl. In 1962, the “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” author lost his eldest daughter, Olivia to measles; like any parent, it was a death that affected him for the rest of his life.

In 1986, Dahl, perhaps predicting the wave of the eminent “anti-vaxxer” movement, penned a plea to parents everywhere, entitled, “MEASLES: A Dangerous Illness.” The essay begins with the writer and doting dad explaining that Olivia was on the mend from the virus when he noticed that something was not right with his daughter:

I was sitting on her bed showing her how to fashion little animals out of coloured pipe-cleaners, and when it came to her turn to make one herself, I noticed that her fingers and her mind were not working together and she couldn’t do anything.

“Are you feeling all right?” I asked her.

“I feel all sleepy,” she said.

In an hour, she was unconscious. In twelve hours she was dead.

Dahl explained that Olivia’s form of measles had quickly transformed into something called measles encephalitis, an infection that occurs during the rash-phase of measles that can cause deadly brain inflammation. It’s a very scary reality and an evolution of the illness that is hard-to-predict in many patients, as it occurs when it looks as though they are on the up and up.

Later in his essay, the writer urges parents to take action and take advantage of the vaccine, for the good of their own children as well as the rest of society. He writes:

…there is today something that parents can do to make sure that this sort of tragedy does not happen to a child of theirs. They can insist that their child is immunised against measles. I was unable to do that for Olivia in 1962 because in those days a reliable measles vaccine had not been discovered. Today a good and safe vaccine is available to every family and all you have to do is to ask your doctor to administer it.

It is not yet generally accepted that measles can be a dangerous illness. Believe me, it is. In my opinion parents who now refuse to have their children immunised are putting the lives of those children at risk.

Then, comes this bone-chilling sentence…

In America, where measles immunisation is compulsory, measles like smallpox, has been virtually wiped out.

Dahl may have been a master at illustrating human emotions, but even he couldn’t see how far we would fall in the decades to come. He was right, of course, the measles were wiped out–but now they are back.

LET THAT SINK IN.

Every year around 20 children will die in Britain from measles.

So what about the risks that your children will run from being immunised?

They are almost non-existent. Listen to this. In a district of around 300,000 people, there will be only one child every 250 years who will develop serious side effects from measles immunisation! That is about a million to one chance. I should think there would be more chance of your child choking to death on a chocolate bar than of becoming seriously ill from a measles immunisation.

So what on earth are you worrying about? It really is almost a crime to allow your child to go unimmunised.

With this and the recent anti-vaxxer shutdown from a brilliant nurse that we recently posted, it’s pretty clear whose advice we should all be taking. Measles be gone! Here’s to healthy kids and a healthy society!

We can’t wait to hear your thoughts on Roald Dahl’s heartbreaking letter. Did you know about his daughter Olivia’s death? Have you chosen not to vaccinate your children? If so, does this change your mind?