Ebola epidemic (update)

As stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “the 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa”. Since the first map series published here in August, an additional 5367 cases and 2294 deaths have occurred, resulting in a total case count of 7492 and a total number of deaths of 3439 for the current outbreak according to the most recent updated published on October, 3rd. These significant changes change the shapes of the cartograms published six weeks ago, not least because the current outbreak exceeds all previous Ebola cases counted since 1977, as the following maps show using the most recent data:

Cartogram visualisations of Ebola virus cases
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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
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Landmines

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

57 million deaths

People are dying all the time. Wars are just one of the many causes of death, but certainly one of the more avoidable ones. WHO’s Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study is the key publication containing global health statistics which can help to understand the relevance of geography in relation to the mortality patterns and the prevalence of certain diseases. 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