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Tracking the Ebola virus disease outbreak,West Africa 2014

on Tue, 08/05/2014 - 05:57

[Updated: December 30, 2014]

In previous posts the chronology of all Ebola virus outbreaks and the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa was presented. It was not possible to keep updated the visualization of the current Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa due to the World Health Organization (WHO) stopped publishing the reported data of this outbreak at subnational level. 

This new post presents a new data visualization to track the Ebola outbreak in West Africa 2014, but dealing with data at country level, instead of sub-national level. This new visualization is similar to the previous one but it has new features:

  1. It allows to explore the evolution of cases and deaths since the beginning of the outbreak to the most recent reported data. For this purpose a date selector was included at the top-right corner of the visualization 
  2. A trend line chart of cases and deaths by country was included


The dataset used by the visualization will be updated every time the World Health Organization publishes a new situation report and this task will be done till the Ebola virus disease outbreak is over. 

I hope this visualization helps you to track the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa. 



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P.S. The visualization of this article was selected by Tableau Public as Visualization of the Day on August 6th, 2014.

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


Nancy Abramson's picture

Great viz and presentation of data. Thank-you so much for your valuable work. Please note the number of early cases is contributing to the perceived low fatality rate. Sadly, the number of fatalities need to consider the 3 week lag which adds a significant number of new cases. Guinea has the highest mortality because it had the first case while Nigeria has the lowest rate because its cases are the most recent. Please refer to : Again - much regards for your contributions.

Matias's picture

Could you share how you made this visualization? Did you use GIS? Did you use any widely available tools?



martiner's picture

Hi Matias

Thanks you for your questions.

This visualization is an interactive dashboard, whcih include multiples data views (graphic formas).

I developed this dashboard using Tableau Public, the free product from Tableau Software (, the leader in data analytics and data visualization.

If you are interested in developing your skills using Tableau Software, I suggest you to visit the Learning section in Tableau Software web site where you will have access to many tutorials and videos for free.

Take a look at my resource page Tableau Training where you will find a lot of materias and resources for learning Tableau Software.

The data visualization included in this post is published in Tableau Public and it is freely distributed. This means that you are able to download the workbook (a file that contain the dashboard, data views and all the content of the visualization, including the data set) and explore all its content and learn from it.

BTW, Tableau Conference 2014 is sessioning this week (8-12 Sept 2014) in Seattle, WA. where more that 5,000 Tableau developers meet to share their experiences and skills. 

I hope this helps


Jeremiah N. Nuatomue's picture

Hi Mr. Martinez,

Thank you for the regular update on Ebola disease, however, i want to know the following about the deadly ebola virus:

what is/are the possible way of preventing the Ebola virus.
Are there food or treatment that one can take to help build the immune system against this virus.
Jeremiah Nuatomue
Liberia, West Africa

martiner's picture

Dear Jeremiah,

Thanks for your question regarding the prevention of Ebolo virus.

Possible ways to protect or preventing the Ebola virus:

  1. Ebola: Protective measures for general public, World Health Organization (WHO), including the Information Note on Ebola and Food Safety
  2. Questions and Anwers on Ebola, Centers for Diseases Prevention and Control (CDC), Atlanta, USA 

There some efforts to develop and produce a vaccine to prevent the Ebola transmission but it is not available yet. There is no any Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved treatment or vaccine available to prevent the Ebola transmission, so any person travelling to or living in an area under risk of Ebola virus transmission should follow the preventive measures stated in above links. 

It is also suggested to keep as well informed as possible abouth the evolution of the epidemic and any new scientific information regarding the Ebola transmission.



Joseph Schafer's picture

Mr Martinez,

Just a quick disclaimer should anyone download the tableau workbook...

With apologies; I'm looking at your workbook and it would appear to me that you are double counting cases in your forecast for total cases in situations where the WHO reports occur twice in one week.

I had similar data issues from arguably the same data set. You'll notice that if you drill down to the Day(End Report Date) in your worksheet, you'll see the Oct. 8 cumulative cases is 8,399, as it should be. Unfortunately, it seems, Tableau has trouble forecasting data where there are missing values (days or weeks with no reporting).

Thanks for your reporting on the topic, very insightful!

martiner's picture

Hi Joseph,

I don't recommend you to use the aggregated data by week from the workbook of the data visualization included in this post. Disregard it, probably that is not correct as was part of my initial data preparation process. Instead, I suggest you to take a look at the workbook from the blog post Predicting the Number of Cases from the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in Countries with Widespread and Intense Transmission

Rick's picture

Are you no longer reporting the data?

martiner's picture

Hi Rick,

Thanks for visiting Health Intelligence data blog and your question. I'm trying to improve the data updating process. The data set will be updated this week.

Lara's picture

Hi Mr. Martinez,

I was just looking over the data and I was wondering, if the data is cumulative then how is it possible that there is a drop from 1510 to 1070 from the last week of october to the first week of November? If no new cases were reported than shouldn't the data simply stay the same? This happens between the 18th and 22nd of june; again on the 29th of October and the 2nd of November as I previously mentioned and once again between the 11th and the 16th of November. Could you please clarify this?

Thank you for your time, I eagerly await your response,

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