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SARS mask - 3dman_eu/pixabay.com

  • Print out and cut up the size-bubble cards and labels from the two Match the disease sheets. (Each bubble has a faint square frame to make cutting easier.) 
  • Which do you think is likely to be bigger, the number of cases of a disease or the number of deaths it causes?
  • Now match the number of cases to each disease. You can also do this activity online
  • Now match the number of deaths to each disease. You can do this activity online too

The colours are the same for the cases and deaths. The figures for the endemic diseases from Challenge 1 relate to the number of cases and deaths in one recent year (2018), while the number of cases and deaths for the diseases from Challenge 2 relate to two or more years (the length of the epidemic or pandemic). The numbers for the historic diseases are estimates.

Now answer the question:

 ‘Which disease would you least want to catch?’

To help you answer this, you can work out and record an estimated death rate (percent) for each disease by dividing the number of deaths by the number of cases and multiplying by a hundred. 

For example, the death rate in the 2014–16 Ebola virus disease outbreak was approximately:

Number of deaths (thousands): 11

Divided by:

Number of cases (thousands): 29 = 0.4

0.4 x 100 = 40 per cent

The death rates for bubonic plague and smallpox are very high, but the figures are based on historic epidemics of those diseases. 

Smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980, following a global vaccination campaign led by the World Health Organization, and nowadays cases of the bubonic plague are rare and treatable.

Display a complete set of the size-bubble cards and labels, along with any further questions that you might have.

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Source: By Cmglee – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0