Roald Dahl’s heart-breaking plea goes viral
Author begged parents to vaccinate their kids after losing his daughter to measles.
Roald Dahl: via YouTube/Roald Dahl
With a measles outbreak raging in California, a heart-breaking letter written by beloved children’s author Roald Dahl has been widely circulated. Written in 1988, he speaks about the awful trauma of losing his seven-year-old daughter Olivia to measles in 1962, and he begs parents to vaccinate their kids.
“In an hour she was unconscious. In twelve hours, she was dead.”
Dahl’s eldest daughter had been perfectly healthy until she contracted measles. She’d been recovering when the measles became measles encephalitis- a condition which can be catastrophic for kids. In 1962, there wasn’t a reliable vaccine against measles, but, at the time he penned his letter in 1988, there was a perfectly safe vaccine available.
Two of his greatest novels, the BFG and James and the Giant Peach are dedicated to Olivia.
Here’s the letter capturing the hearts of his fans and others:
The Disney Outbreak
The reason for the sudden sharing of Dahl’s letter isn’t complicated; the Guardian reports that the current outbreak is believed to have been traced back to a single unvaccinated woman at Disneyland, California. There have been 95 cases (the US had previously enjoyed being almost entirely measles-free in 2000) and doctors have alleged that richer families (always a popular theme for Dahl) are less likely to immunise their kids.
644 cases of measles were reported in the US in 2014.
Same old myths
Read more on measles and vaccinations via Health24
In case you’re wondering what the problem is, many parents opted not to give their children after the results of flawed research linking vaccinations to autism in children were published in a medical journal (and subsequently retracted). The research was debunked and no such link has ever been found.
The doctor responsible was also later prohibited from practising in the UK after an investigation found that he had acted “dishonestly and irresponsibly” in conducting his experiments, according to Time.
The admission of unvaccinated children to school has fuelled a recent debate. One father in particular wanted unvaccinated children banned from school as his son would be exposed to the risk of contracting a disease as he is unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons.
Roald Dahl’s chilling experience, from which he never fully recovered and didn’t speak about, should be a strong reminder to parents to vaccinate their children.
Do you do proper research when looking for the best medical care for your kids?