Questions and answers on the scale of the outbreak and the science of the Ebola virus.
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
Questions and answers on the scale of the outbreak and the science of the Ebola virus.
This Ebola outbreak began in Guinea, near the border with Sierra Leone and Liberia, where a network of roads makes the movement of people, goods ideas possible. Unfortunately though, those same roads make spread of diseases easier. In the past African Ebola cases in isolated villages could be contained but increased transportation has accelerated the diffusion process. If this spreads to Lagos, watch out.
"For 75 years, Finland's expectant mothers have been given a box by the state. It's like a starter kit of clothes, sheets and toys that can even be used as a bed. And some say it helped Finland achieve one of the world's lowest infant mortality rates."
This is a fascinating article that can be a great case study to share with students to allow them to analyze the factors that can improve infant mortality rates. In Finland the government provided oversight to improve infant mortality rates, pre-natal care and promote good parenting in a way that has had tangible results.
Bill Gates introduces Mosquito Week on his personal blog, the Gates Notes. Everything posted this week is dedicated to this deadly creature. Mosquitoes carry devastating diseases like malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, and encephalitis.
We might be more terrified of large-bodied predators, but mosquitoes are the main vector of some deadly diseases. Mosquitoes kill more people in 4 minutes that sharks do in an entire year. The distribution of mosquitoes is a critical component in the geography of development. This isn't just a nuisance; it's a matter of life or death.
|Suggested by cafonso|
The Global Health Program at the Council on Foreign Relations has been tracking news reports since 2008 to produce an interactive map that plots global outbreaks of diseases that are easily prevented by inexpensive and effective vaccines.
For more analysis, read this LA Times article.
"A baby born today in Ethiopia is three times more likely to survive to age 5 than one born in 1990. This progress isn't a result of expensive international aid or the recruitment of foreign doctors into Ethiopia. Instead, the country has invested in simple, bare-bone clinics scattered around the country, which are run by minimally-educated community health workers."
This NPR podcast shows how local programs that target rural health can have a massive impact on key demographic and development statistics. This is great news-- infant mortality rates around the world have dropped from 46 deaths/1000 to 35 deaths/1000 in the last 8 years and local programs such as this one have been a major reason why.
Typhoon Haiyan was enormous and hit a 400-mile swath on the Philippines. The Philippines is a single country, but it is composed of over 7,000 islands; hundreds of islands are in need of relief aid, if not more. The islands are in an archipelago which naturally fragments the land mass and isolates the residents making transportation, utilities and communications logistically difficult even in the best of times. If the first few days after the typhoon, supply chains were cut off and many desperate people looted the sparse food resources available. The necessities to sustain life—food, water, shelter, medication and basic sanitation—are the all major concerns in the aftermath of the typhoon.
While the police are saying that order is being restored, the effects of flooding pollute water resources and increase the spread of infectious diseases because of the poor sanitation. The Philippines is gripping for an impending medical crisis from the spread of diseases in addition to the medical trauma that people suffered during the actual typhoon. Richard Brennen of the World Health Organization (WHO) believes that these geographic difficulties make the relief efforts in the Philippines more difficult than the 2010 relief efforts to help Haiti after the massive earthquake.
|Suggested by Deanna Metz|
Despite the gains, more Africans still die from Malaria even as the spotlight remains firmly fixed on HIV/AIDS.
"Dust blows from what was once the Aral Sea floor. Tragic mismanagement of a natural resource."
The collapse of the Aral Sea ecosystem is (arguably) the worst man-made environmental disaster of the 20th century and 21st century has seen the continuation of the desertification set in motion. Soviet mismanagement, water-intensive cotton production and population growth have all contributed the overtaxing of water resources in the Aral Sea basin, which has resulted in a the shrinking of the Aral Sea--it has lost more of the sea to an expanding desert than the territories of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg combined. The health problems arising from this issues are large for the entire Aral Sea basin, which encompasses 5 Central Asian countries and it has profoundly changed (for the worse) the local climates. Compare the differences with some historical images of the Aral Sea on Google Earth or on ArcGIS Online (also see this article from GeoCurrents)
|Suggested by Duane Hanstein, GISP|
What would John Snow's famous cholera map look like on a modern map of London, using modern mapping tools?
John Snow's cholera map is often noted as a prime example of using spatial thinking to solve a scientific problem. Here are a variety of resources to explore this classic example. Here is an article that highlights the spatial thinking that produced this map, with KML files and in Google Fusion Tables. See also these online GIS layers of Dr. Snow's famous map.
The inhabitants of a small Greek island live on average 10 years longer than the rest of western Europe. So what's the secret to long life in Ikaria?
As more countries have entered the later stages of the Demographic Transition, we expect people to live longer than ever. On this island and other "blue zones" they attribute their long life to a traditional diet and an unpolluted environment.
A handful of AIDS cases were first recognized in the U.S. at the beginning of the 1980s. By 1990, there was a pandemic. In 1997, more than 3 million people became newly infected with HIV.
The spread of AIDS/HIV since the 1980s has varied greatly over time and space. The red lines represent Sub-Saharan countries and the dark blue line on this interactive is the regional average of Sub-Saharan African countries. The regional trend was on the rise at the end of the 20th century, but is now on a slight decline (but still an major impact on the continent). Countries such as Botswana and Zimbabwe have made some significant strides in limiting the spread of AIDS (Zimbabwe is the country that 'peaked' in 1997 and has had the steepest decline).
The stunning drop in global child mortality is proof that poor countries are not doomed to eternal misery. Here's how it happened.
Global health has substantially improved in the last two decades. This article explores the improvements in global health that have been made this year, and the attached interactive feature allows users to explore the changes in global health risks. Click here for the Guardian's version of this same data and interactive.
With this interactive map, users can explore cancers that disproportionately affect poorer countries. How do these spatial distributions correlate with other developmental, consumption or economic patterns? What surprises you about this data?
View Full Lesson on TED-ED BETA: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-pandemics-spread In our increasingly globalized world, a single infected person can board a pl...
This is a great demonstration of why spatial thinking is critical to so many fields, including medicine.
From technology to equality, five ways the world is getting better all the time...
This article by former President of the United States Bill Clinton, outlines numerous ways that globalization can improve the world, especially in developing regions. He uses examples from around the world and includes numerous geographic themes.
Extreme poverty in the United States is giving rise to a group of infections known as the neglected tropical diseases, which we ordinarily think of as confined to developing countries.
Poor Americans are more likely to contract tropical diseases such as Chagas disease and dengue fever. Question to ponder: what geographic factors (physical and human) lead poor people in the United States to be more heavily impacted by the spread to these diseases?
Robyn shares her personal story and how it inspired her current path as a "Real Food" evangelist. Grounded in a successful Wall Street career that was more i...
Robyn authored "The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It." A former Wall Street food industry analyst, Robyn brings insight, compassion and detailed analysis to her research into the impact that the global food system is having on the health of our children. As new proteins are engineered into our food supply to maximize profits for the food industry, childhood food allergies are on the rise. What are the connections between cancer and modern consumption patterns? The correlation is clearly there; is causation also present? How have the economics of agriculture shaped this situation? How will the future economics of agriculture reshape food production?
Public health crises of the past decade — such as the 2003 SARS outbreak, which spread to 37 countries and caused about 1,000 deaths, and the 2009 H1N1 flu p...
The spread of infectious diseases is inherently connected to the mobility of infected. Airports are important nodes in this complex transportation network. Which airports would have the greatest potential to spread diseases? At MIT, they've gathered data that incorporates variations in travel patterns among individuals, the geographic locations of airports, the disparity in interactions among airports, and waiting times at individual airports to create a tool that could be used to predict where and how fast a disease might spread. To read more, see the associated article.
A decade ago, Botswana was facing a national crisis as AIDS appeared on the verge of decimating the country's adult population. Now, the country provides free, life-saving AIDS drugs to almost all of its citizens who need them.
This is a great example, and possibly a template on how to tackle the AIDS/HIV crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa. Botswana was as hard hit as any country, but they fully invested their economic initiatives into tackling this and actively changed cultural attitudes and behaviors that faciliate transmission. Not all is 'doom and gloom' when looking at poverty and disease-stricken countries.
How we die (in one chart)...
This infographic shows the main causes of death in 1900 in the United States and compares that with the 2010 figures. The United States, during that time underwent what many call the epidemiological transition (in essence, in developed societies we now die for different reason and generally live longer) What are the geographic factors that influence these shifts in the mortality rates? What is better about society? Has anything worsened? How come?
|Suggested by Martin Daumiller|
The neighborhoods in which children and adolescents live and spend their time play a role in whether or not they eat a healthy diet, get enough exercise or become obese, concludes a collection of studies in a special theme issue of the American...
Spatial analysis shows that numerous disciplines can utilize the 'geographic advantage' to improve research.
What is the geography of medical practicioners? Why are doctors concentrated more in certain parts of the country? "If anything, this map illustrates how much where you live matters for how much health care you have access to. The 17,000 residents of Clark County, Miss. do not have a single primary care doctor in the area. Up in Manhattan there is one doctor for every 500 people." Click on the link for an interactive ESRI-produced StoryMap.
The Guardian's health editor introduces our health factfile - and the full dataset behind it...
Discussion questions: What regional patterns are there in the per capita healthcare spending? What connection would you expect between per capita health care spending and the quantity of doctors? What areas spend the least on healthcare? How come?