A lack of funding and war in Syria and Iraq has stalled progress towards eliminating measles, with deaths from the disease rising in recent years, the World Health Organization has warned.
Speaking in Geneva on Thursday, WHO expert Robert Perry said: "The big area of concern right now is the Middle East. Countries around Syria and Iraq are having a lot of problems with a measles outbreak.”
Perry said that there has been a huge population movement because of the conflict in Syria and the countries hosting refugees now have a big population of children who are not being reached and vaccinated.
"The conflict in Syria and Iraq is having a bad effect on the ability of our teams to reach children," Perry told reporters.
The number of deaths from the disease has increased from an estimated 122,000 in 2012 to 145,700 in 2013, according to a new WHO report.
The increase in the disease in 2013 was in large part due to outbreaks in China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria.
In Europe, a number of countries including Georgia, Turkey and Ukraine have seen measles re-emerge.
In developing countries a measles vaccination costs around $1.
More than 60% of the estimated 21.5 million children who were not vaccinated against measles at nine months of age in 2013 came from India (6.4 million), Nigeria (2.7 million), Pakistan (1.7 million), Ethiopia (1.1 million), Indonesia (0.7 million) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (0.7 million).
Estimated coverage with the first dose of the measles vaccine rose globally to 83 percent by 2009, but it has remained static since – standing at between 83 to 84 percent through 2013, according to the report.