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Hunker Down or Head Out? Infant Parents' Dilemma in Measles Zone

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Two more cases of measles have turned up in northern Manhattan, bringing the total to 26 this year, according to city Health Department officials.

The department is telling pediatricians in affected areas — including a cluster on the Lower East Side — to encourage parents with children above age one to come in and get the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine. A second, booster shot is typically administered at age four, but it can be received as soon as four weeks after the initial shot, something health officials would like parents to do.

Some pediatricians have told parents to err on the side of caution and keep their infants too young to be immunized away from enclosed areas, where there could be unvaccinated children. One support group of new mothers even disbanded, because they did not want to bring their babies into contact with each other.

Pediatrician Dr. Rosa Gamundi-Joaquin has told parents they can move around normally but simply keep their babies away from children who have a fever or rash.

"We don't know how long the outbreak will be," she said. "Are you going to be in the house all the time?"

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