In the last few months Ebola outbreak in Africa attracted attention of the whole world. In this blog post I will check which countries where most influenced by this news. I will also try to identify any particular events that were most important for people living around the globe. Everything based on Wikipedia page views.


According to Wikipedia, Ebola cases and deaths occurred mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Started with few hundreds of cases by the end of March 2014, now the total number of cases diagnosed so far reached 13000.

Number of Ebola cases in 2014 (source Wikipedia)

In October more than 1500 of Ebola related deaths were reported. The figures were rapidly growing in the last few months:

Ebola deaths per month in 2014 (source Wikipedia)


Trends of different languages share some similarities. We can see two moments of increased activity. The first was at the beginning of August and the second in October. It seems there were two moments that caused increased activity on Wikipedia.

Page views of Ebola virus disease article on Wikipedia

On August 2 Dr. Kent Brantly, American aid worker, was evacuated from Liberia after diagnosing Ebola virus disease. Few days later second American were evacuated.

On October 8, the first victim of Ebola Virus Disease in the U.S. died and on October 10 in Spain the dog called Excalibur were euthanized by court order because it was suspected that the animal may had been reservoir of Ebola virus. I would assume that this event could cause more page views in Europe (Spanish version).

Here we have compared different languages, ordered by number of page views:

Page views of Ebola virus disease on Wikipedia (different languages)

Some observations

For some languages the first peak was much more significant than the second (French, Russian, Hebrew and Portuguese). On the other hand there were couple of languages that had much higher number of page views in October, among others: Arabic, Persian, Indonesian and Romanian.

Looking at the page view numbers can be misleading as some languages are wider used than others. In the following chart I used article popularity which is number of page views divided by total number of page views (for that language). This approach however can also be far from perfect, because in preprocessed monthly logs that I use don’t include articles with less than 5 views in month. So it can influence total number of page views, and it’s hard to estimate that effect.

Here are the the same results but showing article popularity instead of absolute values.

Popularity of Ebola virus disease on Wikipedia (differente languages)

The article related to Ebola was every 50th article viewed on Thai and Greek Wikipedia in the peak time. Those two are relatively small Wikis: Thais has about 1.5 million PV/day and Greek 0.7 million PV/day. Were those two countries most preoccupied by Ebola virus disease?

Some other strange observation. Let’s compare PV for Czech, Greek and Polish version of that article:

Page views of Ebola virus disease on Wikipedia (Czech, Greek and Polish)

According to Wikipedia there are:

  • around 44 million people speaking Polish,
  • 11.5 million people speaking Czech,
  • 15 million people speaking Greek

So it seems strange, that those three languages have similar number of page views, but  there are huge differences in population sizes.

Why people in Czech Republic were so much concerned about Ebola virus disease?

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