Battling Infectious Diseases in the 20th Century: The Impact of Vaccines

Battling Infectious Diseases in the 20th Century: The Impact of Vaccines

Organisation: The Wall Street Journal (United States)

Publication Date: 04/09/2015



The rise of “anti-vaxxers” — a cohort of mostly parents who are opposed to vaccinating their children — was a big news story in 2014 and 2015. The Journal brought a new level of data to the conversation with a series of charts showing how measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases were nearly eliminated after a vaccine was introduced. The state-by-state breakdowns give a powerful visual message that’s instantly understandable: vaccines work. The response was outstanding. It was wildly popular on social media as well as with statisticians and graphics editors weighing in on how they would've approached this project. Websites like the Functional Art, Visualising Data and wrote about the work. Bill Gates even chimed in, tweeting the polio chart to his 21.1 million followers ( (Project's start date: Feb. 11, 2015) Technologies Used A large amount of tabular data needed to be manipulated into a format that was usable for rendering heat maps. We used Excel to format the data into something usable for our workflow. The charts were rendered in the D3 plugin Highcharts.
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