(49) Putting outbreaks of disease into context

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This image communicates the case counts of an outbreak of disease (here, measles) in a way suitable for a news story. The challenge is to present information about the relevant population in a way that draws attention to the risk but also reminds people of its (current) rarity.

What’s special about this image?

This abstract graphic uses the vertical bar to show cases of measles and the shaded areas on the bottom to represent the total population (i.e. the risk denominator). Ideally, readers should get the gist that the difference in cases is not nearly as large as the difference in populations.
  • My goal
  • Differences in likelihood
  • Raise or lower concern
  • Awareness of risk
  • Details or gist?
  • Gist understanding
  • Data I have
  • Case counts
  • Population risks
  • Health conditions
  • Measles
  • Graphic type
  • Area graph
  • Bar graph