It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Deadly disease a 'good thing' for kids, author claimsA BOOK promoting the "marvellous" health benefits of potentially fatal measles should be taken off the shelves, doctors say.
Melanie's Marvelous Measles is an anti-vaccination book aimed at children. It claims – despite evidence that measles can kill and cause brain damage – that it's a "good thing" to have.
The Australian Medical Association said the suggestion was wrong and misleading and that publishers "should be ashamed of themselves".
On the cover of the book ‘Melanie' is happily playing in the garden and showing off a rash on her belly. In the story, she is home with measles and her friend Tina is worried – but her mother reassures her.
"Firstly Tina, measles don't run and catch you or hurt you… for most children it is a good thing to get measles," she says.
"Many wise people believe measles make the body stronger and more mature for the future."
Tina then asks if she can go and catch measles from Melanie. "That sounds like a great idea," her mother responds, and suggests some carrot juice and melon might help Melanie recover.
AMA President Steve Hambleton said only the "crazies" thought that it would be better to get a disease than be vaccinated.
"They should be ashamed of themselves," he said.
"Last time I saw a kid with measles with the rash they were carried into the surgery and the child looked like a rag doll. The mother was terrified.
"It's still fatal. About one in 10,000 children will die because of encephalitis. Carrot juice won't save you."
Dr Hambleton said no child with measles would be able to play in the garden.
"Any publication that suggests getting the illness is safer than getting the vaccination is patently wrong and misleading and the publishers should be ashamed of themselves for the picture they've allowed to be put on the front cover," he said.
Measles is highly infectious, causing a rash, fever, and possibly death. The World Health Organisation says measles is "one of the leading causes of death among young children even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available".
There are about 140,000 deaths a year, mostly in poor countries. In Australia measles deaths are now rare because the disease has been controlled though widespread vaccination. When it does occur, the danger comes from complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis.
Dr Hambleton said while there were occasional adverse reactions to the vaccination, it was far more dangerous to actually experience the disease.
The book's author is Queensland-based natural health activist Stephanie Messenger who was self-published until recently. Her first edition sold out and now an American publisher is selling the book through online sites including Angus and Robertson and Bookworld (formerly Borders).
Angus and Robertson is part of Bookworld, which in turn is a division of Pearson Australia Group. Pearson referred news.com.au to United Book Distributors, who in turn passed inquiries on to Penguin, who have not yet responded.
Ms Messenger said she was just trying to give people more information about vaccination and disease through fiction aimed at children.
"Only people who are not in favour of a free press or free speech would (want it banned)," she said.
"Natural health says that measles is a good thing for a reasonably healthy child to have."
Ms Messenger believes vaccinations killed her young son and that doctors lied when they blamed a genetic disease. She claims that many mainstream doctors and scientists support her position but declined to pass on their names.
The Australian Academy of Science recently released a question and answer fact sheet on immunisation to combat the misinformation spread by the anti-vaccination lobby.