West Coast Measles Data

In 2014, Disneyland, located in Anaheim, California, had a major measles outbreak. Again in 2019, Disneyland exposed hundreds to measles. These outbreaks have led California to strengthen their laws pertaining to vaccination. Even after it was claimed that measles were completely gone in the United States, we have seen a growing number of cases in the last few years, with 2019 having upwards of 1250 reports. You can read more about measles outbreaks in the United States in this article by the New York Times. Some of the symptoms for measles are a high fever, coughing, sore throat, and irritated eyes. While there is no cure for measles, fever medicine and vitamin A are known to help reduce symptoms. More information on measles can be found in this article by Healthline.

The data we have chosen to work with is from The Wall Street Journal and was collected during the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years and includes the rates for measles vaccinations on the west coast. Elementary schools in California, Oregon, and Washington individually reported the data. Each row represents one school, and the variables in the columns take on the following values: an observation ID, the name of the school, the state the school is in, the city the school is in, the county the school is in, the vaccination rate of the school for the measles, the mumps, and the rubella (MMR), percent of students exempt from vaccinations for medical reasons, percent of students exempt from vaccinations for religious reasons, percent of students exempt from vaccinations for personal reasons, the longitude of the school, the latitude of the school, the school year the data was collected, and whether the school is public or private.

In the map below, we see the rate of MMR vaccination in the west coast by school, with each school being plotted onto the map using longitude and latitude. The schools with the lowest MMR rate (0) are plotted with yellow, and the schools with the highest MMR rate (100) are plotted in purple. Most schools are within the range of being 100 percent vaccinated to being about 75 percent vaccinated. There are a few pockets up the coast that have a 0 percent vaccination rate, the most notable being in southern California and the far east and west sides of Washington.

In general, we can see that the norm for most schools is close to 100 percent vaccination, with pretty few exceptions. These exceptions are found in either extremely populated areas (such as San Diego or Sacramento in California, and Seattle in Washington) or extremely sparse areas (such as eastern Washington).

Here is an example of how to use our R package:

register_google(key = "INSERT KEY HERE")
# Get a map from google maps that is centered around the west coast
west_map <-get_map(location = c(lon = -118.37, lat = 41.59), zoom = 5, scale = 1, map_type="satellite")
# The data collectors used NAs and -1s to indicate
# no data collected for that observation. Exclude these.
mmr_measles <- west_measles_data%>%
  drop_na(lat, lng)%>%
  filter(mmr >-1)

# Plot the data on top of the map
  geom_point(mmr_measles, mapping = aes(x = lng, y = lat, color = mmr), size = 0.7, alpha = 1)+
  scale_color_viridis(discrete=FALSE, direction = -1)+
  ggtitle("Rate of MMR Vaccination In West Coast By School")+
  labs(x = "Longitude", y="Latitude", color = "MMR Rate")

Created Using ggmap: D. Kahle and H. Wickham. ggmap: Spatial Visualization with ggplot2. The R Journal, 5(1), 144-161. URL http://journal.r-project.org/archive/2013-1/kahle-wickham.pdf