Maps produced in response to a disease outbreak or epidemic, depicting the incidence and spread of the disease, public health countermeasures, or both.
Strategic or operational?
Basemap, baseline or situational?
When might it be produced?
Mapping may be in demand at all stages of a disease outbreak.
All responders including health sector actors, but also other humanitarian responders including logistics, nutrition and other sectors.
Influence on humanitarian decisions
Major disease outbreaks involving an international response are rare, however in such cases mapping may be an important tool for understanding the spatial progression of the infection, and for planning and coordinating health services for disease control and treatment, as well as addressing wider humanitarian needs arising due to the outbreak.
- Disease characteristics vary (as shown in the 2014-15 Ebola
outbreak), and so the spread of even a previously well-understood
disease in a new context may be novel.
- Epidemiologists may aspire to map outbreak data at a very granular
level; however this should not be allowed to delay or compromise
mapping of more generalised data (e.g. total number of cases at
- Effective management of the outbreak will depend on timely updates
of case data and control measures. Standardised maps/infographics must
therefore be capable of being rapidly updated and disseminated.
- Maps of case incidence should show clearly the change in case
rates – take advice from epidemiologists about intervals and other
- Baselines: population data; pre-outbreak health indicators
(although these will not normally be spatially discriminated); public
water supply infrastructure (in the case of cholera or other
- Case data for current and any previous outbreaks.
- Healthcare infrastructure (usually collated by the Ministry of
Health or health cluster).