The number of measles cases across Sussex more than doubled in a month.

Health bosses are now urging people to make sure their children are vaccinated amid fears of an epidemic sweeping the county.

Yesterday the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said cases are scattered around Sussex instead of in clusters, indicating the disease is becoming more widespread in the community.

Experts believe the rise is linked to outbreaks in France, Italy and Bulgaria which are all popular holiday destinations.

A HPA spokeswoman said: “Families went to these countries over Easter and the school holidays and we are now seeing a corresponding rise in cases.

“Because measles is not widespread in this country, people are not so aware of the higher risk when they travel abroad.

“It seems there are still a lot of children out there who are not protected.”

There were 15 confirmed cases of measles in Sussex in mid April but this has now risen to 40, almost four times as many as the number reported for the whole of 2010.

Brighton and Hove has had 11 cases, East Sussex 18 and West Sussex 11.