In 1962, children’s book author Roald Dahl lost his oldest daughter, Olivia, to measles. She was 7 years old.
Twenty-six years later, Dahl wrote a letter to parents about what happened:
“As the illness took its usual course I can remember reading to her often in bed and not feeling particularly alarmed about it. Then one morning, when she was well on the road to recovery, I was sitting on her bed showing her how to fashion little animals out of coloured pipe-cleaners, and when it came to her turn to make one herself, I noticed that her fingers and her mind were not working together and she couldn’t do anything.
” ‘Are you feeling all right?’ I asked her.
” ‘I feel all sleepy,’ she said.
“In an hour, she was unconscious. In twelve hours she was dead.”
Olivia had what’s called measles encephalitis. The virus had spread to her brain. Her immune system rushed in to fight it. Her brain swelled up.