Check this map before your next trip
If you are concerned about getting an infectious disease while on your travels, there’s is an easy tool called HealthMap to track current disease news around the world. You could find the travel health report from your government, but on this website you can see all the reports that have been released on a pretty map!
The global map
This is the main page of the website where you can see pins for all of the current reports for disease cases this week. This includes many different categories of diseases, which you will find in the box on the right of the map.
Disease categories include vector borne diseases, respiratory alerts, animal alerts, neuro alerts, and others.
You can click on a disease category to see the locations of reports, or you can click on each disease name to find data for that specific disease. You can also click on the time series button in the menu in the upper right to see the chart of cases over time.
You can change how the data are displayed so that they’re clustered by region. It will then show the number of alerts in the center of the circle. Change this by clicking on the settings button in the menu and changing the Marker Style from Individual to Clustered.
If you click on the Zika outbreak link in the box on the right, it’ll take you to the specific Zika timeline page.
You can check the boxes for 3 additional map layers on the left. These are for 2 species of mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus) that can transmit the virus, and an environmental suitability map. The 2 species distribution maps show the probability of whether those species may have established populations. The environmental suitability map is the probability that the environmental conditions are suitable for survival of the virus.
You can also see flu trends in your country from different data sources.
Outbreaks near you
You can click on the outbreaks near me button in the menu, or zoom in manually to an area in the world to see what disease alerts have been reported in the last week. For example, in this screenshot there were 2 respiratory alerts (H1N1 and whooping cough).
You can click on any of the dots to see what reports or social media events are linked to that location. In the box on the right, you can click on specific diseases to see what locations are specific to that disease.
Not perfect, but informative!
Researchers at Harvard University are constantly improving the methods that they use to create these maps. It’s not perfect, but they include data from many sources and aim to improve the quality of the information.
Don’t let health concerns stop you from going on your next trip. You can use this to stay up to date on what is happening so that you are prepared when you land. It may not have the same authority as your government issued travel health report, but it’s a fun way to see what’s happening!
Where are you going on your next trip? Do you have any health concerns?