Stephanie Messenger #quack #conspiracy #dunning-kruger #psycho theguardian.com

An anti-vaccination children’s picture book written to “educate children on the benefits of having measles” has been bombarded with hundreds of scathing reviews in the past few days in the wake of the disease’s current outbreak in the US.

Australian author Stephanie Messenger, who writes that she has raised three children “vaccine-free and childhood disease-free”, first self-published Melanie’s Marvelous Measles two years ago. But since the measles outbreak in California’s Disneyland last month spread to more than 100 people, it has received more than 800 one-star reviews on Amazon.com as readers laid into the title.

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The book sets out to 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”. With a cover showing a rash-covered girl playing in the garden, Messenger’s story sees Tina worrying about her friend Melanie, who is away from school with measles. Her mother tells her not to be concerned. “Many wise people believe measles make the body stronger and more mature for the future,” she tells her daughter, who then asks if she can visit Melanie and catch measles herself. “That sounds like a great idea,” laughs her mother. “Let’s take her some carrot juice and melon to help her get strong and recover from the measles.”

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Messenger, in her book, claims that “often today, we are being bombarded with messages from vested interests to fear all diseases in order for someone to sell some potion or vaccine, when, in fact, history shows that in industrialised countries, these diseases are quite benign and, according to natural health sources, beneficial to the body”.

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