All the World's Preventable Disease Outbreaks, Visualised

By Jamie Condliffe on at

Although medical science has advanced immeasurably in the last century, many preventable diseases still claim lives due to ineffective vaccination programs. This map shows when and where that happens.

The Council of Foreign Relations Global Health Program began tracking vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks in 2008, and now it's produced an interactive map that visualises the data. The maps shows the known number of recorded cases of diseases like measles, mumps, whooping cough and more—all preventable by vaccination—which occurred between 2008 and 2014.

While there are understandably many instances of disease outbreaks in developing countries—the majority a result of the unavailability of the MMR vaccine, as the LA Times points out—there are also a surprising number in developed regions. Pertussis—whooping cough to those unfortunate enough to know it well—was rife in the US over the six years of data collection, with the state of California alone reporting 10,000 cases of the disease between 2011 and 2013. There were similar outbreaks across the rest of the US, and even in the UK and Australia.

You could claim that the map is inherently biased: it is, after all, built up from data collected from international news, which means that more cases may well go reported in developed countries. But even so, the prevalence of some preventable diseases in the developed world is more than a little shocking, and one can't help but think that anti-vaccination movements are at least partly responsible. Regardless, you should go explore the map. [CFR via LA Times via The Verge]