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Updated Vaccine-Preventable Outbreaks Map Shows Attacks on Vaccinators Drive Polio Outbreaks

October 23, 2014
Council on Foreign Relations


October 23, 2014—In advance of World Polio Day on October 24, the Global Health program at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has expanded its "Vaccine-Preventable Outbreaks Map," adding new data showing how a hostile climate for vaccinators thwarts the eradication of preventable illnesses such as polio.

Vaccine map

For the past six years, the CFR project has tracked reports by news media, governments, and the global health community to produce an interactive map plotting global outbreaks of diseases that are easily prevented by inexpensive and effective vaccines. The diseases include measles, mumps, whooping cough, polio, and rubella.

Because attacks on health-care workers have increased since the tool was launched in 2011, it now details these incidents of violence alongside the disease outbreaks. The map is embeddable and updated on a weekly basis.

"This map demonstrates that the resurgence of polio in Pakistan is strongly correlated with the increase of attacks on vaccinators and health-care workers there," says Laurie Garrett, CFR Senior Fellow for Global Health, who produced the map.

According to Garrett, the map also reveals that:

  • Africa continues to have the largest outbreaks of diseases that are vaccine-preventable, largely due to supply-chain difficulties and weak health systems;
  • outbreaks of whooping cough and measles are on the rise in the United States and the United Kingdom; and
  • wealthier countries see higher incidences of whooping cough and measles, while lower-income countries experience a range of infectious disease outbreaks and a notable resurgence of polio.

With nearly one million visits since its initial launch, the tool has become a useful public resource for understanding how and where these diseases are spreading worldwide. View the "Vaccine-Preventable Outbreaks Map" at

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