Roald Dahl's Letter Is A Tragic Argument For Vaccinations

Photo: Everett Collection/REX USA.
The number of measles cases in the U.S. continues to rise, yet unfortunately, Americans are still debating the merits of vaccines. However, a recently unearthed 1988 letter from writer Roald Dahl paints a heart-wrenching picture of the potential consequences of not getting immunized.

The letter
describes the battle his eldest daughter, Olivia, had with measles at the age of seven. She developed encephalitis, a serious complication of measles that occurs in about one of every 1,000 children who get the disease.

Although Olivia seemed to be getting better, Dahl says she complained one day of feeling sleepy. "In an hour, she was unconscious," he writes. "In 12 hours she was dead." He dedicated his book James and the Giant Peach to her while she was alive, and The BFG to her memory.

This year's measles outbreak, stemming from cases emerging at Disneyland, is particularly unsettling because the disease was declared wiped out in 2000 in the U.S. However, Dahl's words are a haunting reminder that there's still one excellent way to be protected from measles and many other preventable diseases: Get vaccinated

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