Visualizing Incidents of Meningitis and fatalities in the US (1920-1921)


  • Visual Design Type: Bubble Map
  • Name of Tool: Tableau
  • Country: United States of America
  • Disease: Meningitis
  • Year: 1920 – 1921
  • DOI: 10.25337/T7/ptycho.v2.0/US.7180009
  • Visual Mappings:
    • Colour: Number of fatalities
    • Size: Number of cases
    • Position: Each bubble depicts a state in the map
  • Unique Observation: When looking at this visualization, one can assume that the outbreak of this disease started from the East coast and spread towards the West over the period of time. The Midwest is not as infected as the East due to the fact that the virus and bacteria responsible for it spread when one person comes in touch with another one thus implying that the area is more crowded, something which is true for the East coast.
  • Data Preparation: Summed the number of incidences and the number of fatalities.

My question:
Can I infer the aforementioned observation from the above visualization or do I need more data / more intuitive measurements.

Van Panhuis, W., Cross, A., Burke, D., Counts of Meningitis reported in UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: 1905-1959 (version 2.0, April 1, 2018): Project Tycho data release, DOI: 10.25337/T7/ptycho.v2.0/US.7180009



Hi NikD,

To answer your question: I am not sure I can make that observation from your chart since you’re not encoding time.

What is your temporal granularity? Do you have diseases per day / week ? You could map time to some visual variable such as transparency or border color. Of course, if you can reuse any of the existing ones (size, color) that’d be the best but it depends on what you want to show.

I also wonder about the population density. It is not shown here, but instead assumes a little insider knowledge about the US. You could try slightly shading the states according to density. Give it a try and post the iteration :slight_smile: ??