Educator Spotlight: Mapping Infectious Disease Trends

Matt Kuehl’s high school biology students investigated the frequency of common biological pathogens. Then they investigated the death rates of several diseases and plotted them on a mega map. Students identified correlations between the frequencies of the diseases and the locations of high death rates. Continue reading Educator Spotlight: Mapping Infectious Disease Trends

World AIDS Day: Resources for a Quick Geographic Perspective

Saturday, December 1, is World AIDS Day. Use this collection of facts, figures, and context to put the day in geographic perspective. Cut to the good stuff—links to maps, data-analysis tools, and other online geography resources focusing on AIDS and HIV. By the Numbers According to the CIA World Factbook,, and UNAIDS, there are currently about 36.9 million people worldwide living with HIV (the virus … Continue reading World AIDS Day: Resources for a Quick Geographic Perspective

Jessica Brehmer- Public Health Mapping

Jessica is currently a graduate student at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and is employed by the Minnesota Department of Health. She has a BA in Geography from the University of Minnesota and is a former geography intern with NGS.

Mapping diseases goes way back. In the infamous Broad Street pump incident of 1854, John Snow mapped cases of cholera in a London neighborhood during an epidemic and noticed most cases were using water from the same pump. He removed the pump handle and the epidemic came to a halt. Now there is a whole field of study dedicated mapping diseases and health geographics, and I want in!

Maps easily show the distribution of diseases. This visualization of the distribution is useful for many applications in public health. For example, if you were planning a campaign to distribute mosquito nets in Africa to prevent malaria, a map would show you that malaria is not endemic in the Sahara desert as it is Sub-Saharan Africa. The map helps you prioritize net distribution to the highest risk areas. Such maps are relevant for all diseases across the field of public health.


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