The Ebola Epidemic

The ongoing Ebola epidemic in West Africa that began in 2014 has spurred the development of many visualisations, most commonly by news outlets, but also by health organizations, in an effort to explain the situation. Many have used maps to show the location of active outbreaks. In this post, I’ll showcase a few of the many visualisations on the subject.

World Health Organization Ebola Portal


Creator: The World Health Organization
Source: WHO data. Open access to come.
Method: Mapbox

This asset is a map showing countries with active Ebola cases. These countries are colour-coded based on severity of the outbreak there (no cases, land bordering countries, localized transmission, widespread transmission). The number of reported cases by week is also shown in a bar chart.

The Microbe-scope


Creator: David McCandless
Source: Centres for Disease Control, World Health Organisation, CIDRAP, Public Health Agency of Canada, studies. (Data)
Method: Unknown

This graph puts Ebola in context by comparing its contagiousness (average basic reproduction number) and Deadliness (case fatality rate percentage) to other infectious diseases such as Measles, Cholera and Avian Flu. The primary transmission method of each disease is also indicated.

The Deadliest Ebola Outbreak in History


Creator: The Telegraph
Source: CDC
Method: Unknown. Illustrator assumed.

This infographic expands on what we know from the WHO’s map (above) by showing not only the cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone, Liberia & Guinea, where the outbreak is currently concentrated, but also past outbreaks in central Africa (DRC, Uganda, Zaire etc.). The strain of Ebola is also indicated, as is the death toll, and number of cases by year (bar chart) since the disease was discovered in 1976.

How Many Ebola Patients Have Been Treated Outside of Africa?


Creator: The New York Times
Source: C.D.C., the World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders and other agencies.
Method: Unknown

This article contains 11 visualisations exploring the Ebola outbreak, particularly focusing on the aid effort, cases of Ebola in aid workers and treatment of the disease.

Tracking the Ebola virus disease outbreak,West Africa 2014


Creator:Ramon Martinez / Health Intelligence
Source: World Health Organization situation report
Method: Tableau

This visualisation shows cases, deaths and fatality rate by country with a timeline to filter data shown. It concentrates on the three countries where the outbreak has been most prevalent: Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

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