The stories of Roald Dahl — “James and the Giant Peach,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Matilda” and many more — are known and loved by children (and grown-ups) around the world. But while his imaginary tales delighted millions, there was a tragic, real-life story Dahl also wanted to tell — one that still has great significance today. In 1962, his 7-year-old daughter Olivia died of measles. The vaccine that could have prevented it didn’t come out until 1963. In those days, measles killed 400 to 500 people in the U.S. each year, and left thousands of children with serious complications including deafness and mental retardation. An effective vaccination campaign virtually eliminated measles in this country by 2000. Yet as the severity of the disease became a more distant memory, an increasing number of parents began opting out of having their children vaccinated. The current measles outbreak, which started spreading at Disneyland in mid-December, has now sickened more than 100 people in 14 states, most of whom had not been vaccinated. The disease is highly contagious and easily spreads through a cough or sneeze, infecting about 90 percent of people who are exposed if they haven’t gotten the vaccine. Nationwide,… Read full this story
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