Skip directly to content

Ebola virus disease outbreak, West Africa, 2014

on Sat, 06/07/2014 - 18:19
Ebola virus disease (formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever) is a severe and fatal illness, with a case fatality rate of up to 90%. It is one of the world’s most virulent diseases. The infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people. Severely ill patients require intensive supportive health care. During an outbreak, those at higher risk of infection are health workers, family members and others in close contact with sick people and deceased patients. Ebola virus disease outbreaks can devastate families and communities, but the infection can be controlled through the use of recommended protective measures in clinics and hospitals, at community gatherings, or at home.
An outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa is being reported by national health authorities to the World Health Organization (WHO) since March 24th 2014. The first report came from Guinea with a total of 49 cases including 29 deaths for a case fatality ratio of 59%. Since then and as June 4th 2014 (about two and half months later), the outbreak has a cumulative number of 395 cases and 218 deaths for a case fatality ratio of 54%, including three countries: Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Data from this outbreak as June 22nd, 2014 is visualized helping to see the current situation based in three main metrics.
  1. cumulative number of cases,
  2. cumulative number of deaths, and
  3. case fatality ratio.
The case fatality ratio is calculated dividing the number of deaths by the number of cases and coventionally expressed in percentage. It represents a measure the severity of the outbreak or risk of dying as consequence of the outbreak.

Some highlights from this outbreak:

  • Guinea, the country that first reported cases of Ebola on March 23rd, 2014, is the country with higher number of cases and deaths, with a case fatality ratio of 63%.
  • The district of Gueckedou, Guinea has the higher number of cases (190) and deaths (140) for a case fatality ratio of 74%, wich is 20 percentual points higher than the case fatality ratio of the whole outbreak.
  • Both maps depict the district of Gueckedou, Guinea as the epicenter of this outbreak. With a high level of spreading because of contacts from person-to-person.

Detailed information about Ebola virus diseases is available here, and also in the Ebola virus disease page from the WHO web site. 

P.S. Starting on July 1st, World Health Organization (WHO) stopped reporting data at subnational level, so I was not able to update this visualization. To overcome the situation and continuing providing information about the Ebola virus disease outbreak, I've created and published a new interactive data visualization for tracking Ebola virus disease outbreak at country level.  

P.S. The visualization of this article was selected by Tableau Public as Visualization of the Day on June 10th, 2014.

Tableau Public Visualization of the Day, June 10th, 2014


John Henriksen's picture

Hi Ramon,

This is by far the best map I have seen of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and I hope that you will continue to update it.

Maybe you can keep the June 22 update so we would be able to see how much it have spread in a month and which areas are still active.

Best regards from Denmark

John Henriksen

martiner's picture

Hi John,

Thansk for your comment and words about the Ebola outbreak map.

Unfortunatelly, the World Health Organization (WHO) is not reporting Ebola data at sub-national level, so I'm not able to keep updated this map.

Now I'm working on other data visualization presenting Ebola outbreak data at national level.

Best regards,


Danny Brashear's picture

Great work Ramon,

It will take a while to study it. Do you have any data breaking out infections/deaths of the health care workers?


martiner's picture

Hi Danny,

Thanks for your comment. Unfortuantely, it seems data on infections/deaths by healthcare workers are not available to the public yet. I'm just using data from WHO Ebola virus disease update which is reporting data (cases/deaths) at country level. 

Dominic Mutai's picture

Such a nice viz. I have seen a number of your visualizations and downloaded some of your workbooks to see how you made them up. Your viz shows a drill down to some of level of administrative boundaries in the affected West African countries which is quite nice. I wanted to know where I can get the latest administrative divisions/boundaries for other African countries (read Kenya where I live) and how to embed or use them on a Tableau view.I want to make a viz of new HIV infections per region/County/district to the lowest level-that's part of my new job and apparently they just acquired Tableau and I am supposed to be the Tableau rock star here. Thanks

Post new comment