Ebola Outbreak


The recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has not been brought under control since it became part of international attention early 2014. As of 15 August the suspected and confirmed cases added up to 2127, leading to 1145 deaths in the region (source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
The outbreak is not only unusual in its absolute numbers of cases and deaths (before the current outbreak a total of 2387 cases and 1590 deaths have been recorded by the World Health Organization since the virus was discovered in 1976), but also in its geographical patterns: While WHO obervations in the past mainly occurred in the tropical regions of Sub-Saharan Africa (affecting mainly Congo, DR Congo, Gabon, Sudan and Uganda), the current and by far largest outbreak is observed in the previously unaffected countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and (less servere) Nigeria). The following map shows not only that Ebola is restricted to Africa, but to a very small part of the continent. It shows the countries of the world resized in a Worldmapper-style cartogram according to the total number of cases in each country in 2014 (to date):Map of the 2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa - total cases as of August, 14thTo put the outbreak into further context, the following maps show the death counts of all Ebola outbreaks to date, as well as two split maps of deaths in 2014 and pre-2014: Continue reading

Inequalities in Immunisation

Save the Children Report CoverGlobal inequalities in health find their expression in a wide range of issues that start in the very early ages of a person’s life. Children are most at risk, as health-related problems can have implications on the rest of their life – if they survive childhood at all. Finding the Final Fifth: Inequalities in Immunisation is the title of a new report published by Save the Children in partnership with ACTION and endorsed by the World Health Organisation.
The report takes a closer look at health inequalities related to immunisation coverage. With children being highly vulnerable, no access to immunisation is one of the preventable causes of death. Further efforts such as the Global Vaccine Action Plan (pdf) are needed to tackle the problem. “Reaching the hard-to-reach must be a priority for all countries“, concludes Save the Children in a statement prior to the 65th World Health Assembly where these issues were on the agenda.
The Worldmapper project contributed a cartogram series to the report, looking at some of the data that Save the Children used in its findings. The data shows how access to health and immunisation compares to mortality rates of children and how this data gives an indication of the prevailing global inequalities. We created four maps, of which three were included in the report (the following maps are modified version of these maps). The original data sources are given in the report (download link see below). The first map shows the mortality rates of under-five year old children:

Cartogram / Map of Child Mortality under the Age of Five in the World
(click for larger version)

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In a report released by the Landmine Monitor it is stated that landmine use is ‘highest since 2004′ despite record clearances. While with Burma (Myanmar), Israel, Lybia and Syria, four of the 20% of countries who did not sign an international treaty to stop the use of land mines, continued to use new devices this year (and further armed groups in countries such as Afghanistan, Colombia and Pakistan also laid new mines, as reported by the BBC), the deadly impact of these weapons reaches further than those countries. Continue reading

World Malaria Day

The term ‘malaria’ comes from the medieval Italian ‘mala aria’ meaning ‘bad air’. The term was coined at a time before the mosquito had been identified as the carrier of the parasite. (Worldmapper)

April 25 is World Malaria Day which raises awareness for a still prevalent disease. While some significant efforts could be made to come closer towards the goal of eradicating Malaria-related deaths until 2015, still an estimated 800,000 people die every year from the disease according to the World Malaria Report 2010. According to UNICEF, Malaria is the third single biggest killer of Children globally, and about 90% of these deaths occur in Africa. One in six of the
In collaboration with UNICEF I have worked on an updated version of the Worldmapper Malaria Death map, using the WHO report and UNICEF figures to visualise the distribution of Malaria-related deaths. The figures were also added to the Guardian Datastore which also has more information about Malaria cases in general and the collection of such data.
The resulting map shows the distribution of recorded deaths that were attributed to Malaria, and it shows the ongoing dominance of Malaria being a lethal problem on the African continent:
World Malaria Death Map
The UNICEF Press Release adds this information: Continue reading

Walking Dead: Capital Punishment

Amnesty International has recently released their latest report on executions and sentences around the world during 2010 (pdf) stating that ” it is clear that countries using the death penalty are now increasingly isolated” (see also here, the underlying data has also been added to the Guardian Datastore).
The following two maps show a worldmapper-style view of the state of death penalty using figures from the time of 2007 to 2010 out of the above mentioned sources. There are two pictures that can be drawn from the data: The first map shows the countries of the world resized according to the total death penalty sentences recorded there in that time period (the map inset shows the state of death penalty around the world on a conventional map). The second map visualises the actually executed death penalties from 2007-2010 by resizing the countries accordingly (the map inset here shows a world population cartogram that allows a comparison of the main map with the actual population distribution).
In both maps the figures for China are uncertain and estimated to be in the thousands. China has been set to 1000 in both maps and may thus appear much smaller than it actually is related to this topic.
The two maps with their very distorted shape of the world show how divided the world is in this topic. Very few countries dominate the map while the majority of countries disappear completely. Europe and South America are literally eradicated, and when looking at the actually executed death penalties in the second map, even more countries vanish:

Cartogram / Map of the Death Penalty Prosecutions worldwide 2007-2010
(click for larger map)
Cartogram / Map of the Death Penalty Executions worldwide 2007-2010
(click for larger map)

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