Friday, March 18, 2016

GIS Maps of the Zika Virus

GIS Timeline Map of the Zika Virus

ESRI, the world’s leading producer of GIS software, has created a series of maps forming a timeline depicting the origination and spread of the Zika virus from Africa around the world.  The World Health Organization declared the Zika virus a global public health emergency this winter.

Users can click through the timeline of maps showing where the virus started and how it has spread and changed over time.  The virus was first detected in Uganda in 1947.  Scientists identified the virus living in a rhesus monkey in the Zika Forest.  The virus was first detected in a human in Nigeria in 1952, although tests showed that the virus may have been widespread in humans for some time.  At the time, the virus caused a fever and was cured by rest.

According to the maps, the Zika virus arrived in northern Brazil at about the time of the World Cup in 2014.  According to the World Health Organization, “the situation today is dramatically different.  As of today (February 2016), cases have been reported in more than 30 countries.”  The virus today has been associated with microcephaly, a birth defect causing a baby’s head to be smaller and the brain not developing normally.  “Brazil’s Ministry of Health reports that there are currently 3,670 suspected cases of microcephaly in the country.”

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) on the second floor of Bracken Library provides access to the latest ESRI GIS software and assistance from the GIS Specialist Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 5:00 pm.  Students can also access GIS software on computers throughout Bracken Library on weekends and in the evening.  For more information, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

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