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Lab, Field, & Clinic |

CDC App Aims to Help Track, Curb Ebola Outbreaks

Bridget M. Kuehn, MSJ
JAMA. 2014;311(23):2371. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.5831.
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Public health officials in West Africa working to contain an outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever have a new digital application to speed their efforts. Cases of the deadly infection, which first surfaced in Guinea in March, have also been reported in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed the Epi Info viral hemorrhagic fever application on the agency’s existing Epi Info software platform. The platform has been around for more than 20 years, but the new tool adds functionality designed specifically for viral hemorrhagic fevers. Although the product is still in development, the CDC sent it early to Africa along with one of its programmers to help workers trying to contain the ongoing outbreak. At press time in late May, there were more than 300 suspected and confirmed cases (mostly in Guinea), including 200 deaths thought to be the result of the deadly infection, according to the CDC’s website (http://1.usa.gov/1tidmpY).

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s freely available EpiInfo software platform enabled epidemiologists on the ground in Guinea to more quickly gather data on people exposed to the virus that causes Ebola viral hemorrhagic fever. The next step is training more workers to use the tool.

Erik Knudsen/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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