Research & Analysis

Measuring the economic impact of disease outbreaks

I hope that my use of the GIDEON database will alert researchers to this incredible source of information.

Prof. Rodolphe Desbordes
Economics Professor at SKEMA Business School

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the management of all types of diseases to the forefront of risks individuals, organizations, and governments look to control. The impact on physical and mental health has been immediately identifiable, but perhaps less apparent is the economic impact diseases can have.

Some of the financial influence will have been commonly felt in most developed countries, with trade routes breaking down or staff being unable to travel, but the impact on governments and societies, particularly in the developing world, has been less reported on.

Closing this gap, Professor of Economics Rodolphe Desbordes, from SKEMA School, has authored a paper “Spatial dynamics of major infectious diseases outbreaks: A global empirical assessment” to help understand the economic effects of disease outbreaks.


‘Infectious diseases have now become a hot topic in Economics,’ said Prof. Desbordes.

‘As an applied macroeconomist, I’m interested in very global issues and wanted to carefully model the spatial diffusion of infectious diseases in a globalized world. For various reasons, including data availability, the effects of many diseases were neglected, so I needed databases with long (time) and wide (spatial) coverage to run estimations.’


Search for quality data led to Prof. Desbordes’ discovery of GIDEON – ‘I was really surprised not to find this information easily available, but I noticed the use of GIDEON in a few other papers. I found GIDEON was the perfect database for the epidemiological project I had in mind.’

The quality of the data Prof. Desbordes found made it possible to really push his concept to all corners of the globe. ‘I value excellent data on a novel and interesting issue more than anything else, and GIDEON provided that. Data are essential to guide domestic and international policymaking.’

GIDEON’s high-quality data fuels research in previously underexplored areas
GIDEON advantages
Data going back to 1348 AD

GIDEON is the most comprehensive database of historical and current infectious disease outbreaks, encompassing 235 countries and territories.

Interactive maps

GIDEON renders interactive maps of disease distribution and outbreaks.

Millions of data points, covering 235 geographical areas

GIDEON provides an in-depth analysis of global disease spread. The database provides information on 25,000+ historical outbreaks and crossborder events, 83,000+ surveys, and 23,600+ country-specific notes.

Updated every day by a team of experts

GIDEON is curated by a team of highly regarded medical scientists who are updating the database daily.