“It’s definitely scary,” she said. “I contemplated not going back to work after maternity leave.”
Elle Gotham, a lawyer in Detroit, phoned the day care center that her baby, Penelope, attends three days a week to ask whether it serves many children from the northern suburbs, where the outbreak has been most pronounced.
“They said very few,” Ms. Gotham said. “If it gets into a day care, it’s a disaster.”
Some friendships between families who vaccinate and those who do not have suffered.
“We have friends who don’t believe in vaccines, and those friendships aren’t going to be maintained at the risk of her health,” said one father, who gave his name only as Mike, as he pushed his 11-month-old daughter down a street in Royal Oak, Mich. “Anti-vaxxers aren’t allowed in our house.”
Jill Dumme of Grand Rapids, Mich., the mother of an 8-month-old named Benjamin, said she had tried to avoid the topic with her friends, most of whom do not vaccinate. She said she won’t bring Benjamin near their children.
“They’re so passionate about it, and so anti-vax,” she said. “I love them, so I’m not going to sit and argue with them about it. You do you, I’ll do me. But until my kids are safe, I’m going to steer clear.”
Colleen Serafini, of Pleasant Hill, Calif., said she has been reading news reports about measles outbreaks late at night, thinking about her daughter, Tess, who is a few weeks away from her first birthday.
It is surreal to be stuck worrying about a once-eradicated disease, she said, recalling a hike she and her husband once took in a state park named after Jack London, who wrote a century ago about a post-apocalyptic America ravaged by plague.
“We were talking about what a scary time it was then to have kids, when they got these diseases,” Ms. Serafini said. “To be talking about that again is absurd.”