Immune system by numbers infographic
A snapshot of immunity and allergy
In each issue, we produce an infographic capturing interesting and visual information about a particular topic. Download a colour or B&W PDF version from the bottom of this page to see the statistics on:
- measles cases and MMR vaccine coverage in England
- asthma across the world
- common allergens
- generation times of different bacteria
- production of antibodies by B cells.
We have also some references and questions relating to each section.
Measles cases and MMR vaccine coverage in England
Sources for measles cases:
Source for MMR coverage:
Other references include:
Question 1: Can you see any potential links between the written information on the graph and the number of cases of measles?
Question 2: When the proportion of a population that has been immunised against a specific disease passes a certain threshold, ‘herd immunity’ exists. This means that even people who have not been vaccinated are protected. Read more on herd immunity. For measles to be kept under control, 95 per cent of people must have been vaccinated. What does the information on the graph tell you about MMR coverage in England? What might this mean for the spread of measles, mumps or rubella?
Asthma across the world
Question: Do a survey in your class or study group to find out how many people have asthma. How do your data compare to national or global figures? Are you surprised by your findings?
Question: Searching online, can you find the most common allergen in the UK? How does this vary across different parts of the world? Why?
Generation times of different bacteria
Question: The graphic shows four types of bacterium: two with relatively short generation times, two with relatively long ones. The latter two cause chronic diseases. Search online to investigate what links there are, if any, between a slow generation time and chronic diseases. How might a slow generation time influence how the immune system responds to a particular organism?
Production of antibodies by B cells
Question: Antibodies (immunoglobulins) are produced by plasma B cells. Search online to see how the structure of plasma B cells is different to that of their precursor B cells. How do these differences help plasma B cells perform their specialised function of producing many antibody molecules?Lead image:
‘Big Picture: Immune System’ CC BY