Mapping Ebola Diffusion in East Africa: Geospatial Analysis and Social Media Monitoring

Authors: Mark Butman*, Courage Services, Inc.
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Africa
Keywords: Ebola, Africa, GIS
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Washington 1, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Social media emerges as a helpful tool for monitoring and anticipating Ebola spread in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to other countries in the central African region. This case study leverages geo-spatial ​data and analysis related to population movement flows - including refugees and cross-border economic trade patterns - between northeastern Congo and Uganda to gain insight on Ebola spread risks. When displayed and analyzed against social media discussion of Ebola and conflict in this border region, patterns emerge suggesting possible direction and diffusion of the disease into a wider public health disaster. This synthesis can inform public health officials and policymakers in stemming the spread of Ebola, and serves as a template for studying and preventing future outbreaks, using geo-spatial tools.

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