Tracking Ebola with CrisisNET and the Ushahidi Platform
The Ebola epidemic has finally captured international attention. Coverage of Ebola was minimal when the disease was confined to West Africa, but a small number of recent cases in the US and Europe have sparked frantic, hysterical reporting from western media outlets and subsequent public panic. In light of this, it’s important to keep the threat in perspective. For example, the above chart shows the number of confirmed and suspected cases in every country touched by the virus.
This World Health Organization data, provided by the Humanitarian Data Exchange and visualized using analysis tools we’re developing at CrisisNET, confirms statements by the Centers for Disease Control reassuring people in the US and Europe that their chances of contracting Ebola are vanishingly small (in fact, to date all known cases outside of West Africa have been health workers directly involved in treating Ebola patients).
That said, the chart above also clearly shows that Ebola is on the rise in Liberia, Guinea and Sierre Leon, and represents an urgent and ongoing humanitarian crisis. Consequently we’ve been following the spread of the disease in West Africa since early this summer.
For example, partnering with Cédric Moro and using the CrisisNET platform, we collected reports of suspected and confirmed Ebola cases from social media, traditional publications and information posted on public websites.