Measles cases on the rise in Spain

Measles cases in Spain rose from 173 cases in 2010 to close to 2,000 cases last year, leading to a pediatrician group's request to move the vaccination period three months earlier.

The Vaccination Advice Committee of the Spanish Pediatric Association has suggested moving the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine forward, giving the first dose to children at 12 months as opposed to 15 months, Euro Weekly News reports.

The committee reached this decision because many of the cases detected have been in children between 12 and 15 months of age who have yet to develop the antibodies to fight the extremely contagious disease. The committee recommended moving the second dose to age two, instead of waiting until between the ages of three and six years old.

There were 30,000 cases of measles in Europe in 2011, which killed eight people in total. While there were 2,000 registered cases detected in Spain, the true figure is probably closer to 3,000, according to Euro Weekly News. There may have been as many as 2,000 cases in Seville alone, due to many gypsy families with unvaccinated children.

Experts said that the rise in the number of cases is the result of vaccination levels that have dropped to 85 percent, while the ideal rate to prevent a disease from spreading is 95 percent or above. Measles infects more than 10 million children each year and kills 120,000 people annually worldwide.