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Fury over book promoting measles
Fury over book promoting measles

Medical experts are calling for a controversial new book, which proclaims the benefits of contracting measles, to be removed from stores.

President of the Australian Medical Association, Steve Hambleton, says that the text is misleading, and publishers 'should be ashamed of themselves'.

Mr Hambleton says he's appalled by the cover of the book, which shows an illustration of 'Melanie' with her arms stretched wide as she plays in the garden.

The image shows her looking up at a blue butterfly, with a big smile on her face, and a red rash covering her face, arms and exposed stomach.

The anti-vaccination book, 'Melanie's Marvellous Measles,' penned by Queensland health activist Stephanie Messenger, tells how the young girl catches measles.

Melanie expresses concern to her mum that her friend Tina might also contract the potentially-fatal disease.

But her mother replies by saying 'wise people think measles help strengthen the body, and makes it more mature'.

Tina's mum recommends melon and carrot juice will help make Melanie feel better. She also tells Tina it would be a 'great idea' if she caught measles from her friend.

The Australian Medical Association warns that measles can still kill, and carrot juice won't save you.

"About one in 10,000 children will die because of encephalitis," AMA President Steve Hambleton told News Limited.

"Any publication that suggests getting the illness is safer than getting the vaccination is patently wrong."

"[The] 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."

Meanwhile the Australian Vaccination Network praises the book and its 'beautiful' illustrations, and 'simple, colourful text'.

"It discusses not only the fact that measles is usually benign in healthy, well-nourished children, but the importance of proper nutrition including vitamin A from orange fruits and vegetables," the site claims.

But the book has been slammed by Amazon users, where it is currently being sold.

The blurb on Amazon claims the book will take children 'on a journey to learn about the ineffectiveness of vaccinations and to know they don't have to be scared of childhood illnesses, like measles and chicken pox.'

Of the 83 reviews of the book, 71 Amazon users gave it one star, and posted negative feedback.

"I was torn between rating this book as five stars instead of one star, only because it serves as an enlightening example of the total idiocy that is capable of permeating our society," one user wrote.

"Stephanie Messenger must have thought it very clever of herself to mimic the title of Roald Dahl's book, 'George's Marvellous Medicine'. Instead of congratulating herself on her cleverness she should have read what Roald Dahl said about vaccinations," another Amazon user posted.

The World Health Organisation says measles is one of the leading causes of death in young kids, despite there being a safe and cheap vaccine.

While Australia's Health Department says acute encephalitis occurs in 1 per 1000 measles cases, and has a mortality rate of 10 to 15 percent.

The Department says around 15 to 40 percent of survivors suffer permanent brain damage.