U.K. measles outbreak grows

According to the Health Protection Agency in the United Kingdom, the measles outbreak in Merseyside has spread beyond Liverpool with 48 confirmed cases, 37 probable cases and 108 possible cases.

The outbreak of measles was first declared on February 16, with the majority of patients concentrated in the Liverpool area, the BBC reports.

"We are also beginning to see cases that are further afield," an HPA spokesman said, according to BBC.

There are confirmed, probable and possible cases in Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley, St. Helens, Halton, and central and eastern Cheshire. In addition, there are probable and possible cases in western Cheshire and Warrington. More than 7,000 children under the age of five were not vaccinated or were only partly vaccinated in Merseyside.

"Measles is highly infectious and unvaccinated children are at risk when it gets into a community," Roberto Vivancos, a consultant with the HPA's Cheshire and Merseyside Health Protection Unit, said, according to the BBC. "Furthermore, when unvaccinated older children pick up an infection they can pass it on to vulnerable infants who are too young to be vaccinated. That would appear to be what's happening in this outbreak."

The HPA advised people with measles symptoms to call their family general practitioner for advice before attending a facility. Symptoms of the measles include cough, fever, sore eyes and a rash that starts on the head and face and spreads down the body.