The MicrobeScope – Infectious Diseases in Context


For your reference and to satisfy a curiosity of mine around the contagiousness of microbes and pathogens, especially Ebola.

To give a universal metric for infectiousness contagiousness, this graphic uses the average ‘basic reproduction number‘ (also rate or ratio), the number of additional cases generated by a single case of the disease. It’s a statistical measure of how likely an infectious disease might spread through a population – if nothing is done to contain the outbreak. These numbers are scattered around in the literature so quite a lot of mining was necessary to surface them.

Update: Oct 2018 – Refreshed and made the viz interactive. Added multiple new metrics. New diseases. New research. New data. And a suite of interactive stories around the data. Enjoy.

Correction 20th Oct 2014 – Relabelled the horizontal axis “contagiousness” (how spreadable a disease is through a population) rather than “infectiousness” (how communicable a disease is person-to-person).

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