CDC Tool Helps Identify and Track Ebola Outbreak in Guinea, Liberia

May 3, 2014 in News

CDC disease detectives are using a new software tool to help locate individuals exposed to an Ebola hemorrhagic fever outbreak in Guinea and Liberia, United Press International reports.

Background

The Guinea Ministry of Health has reported 208 suspected and confirmed cases of Ebola hemorrhagic fever, including 136 fatalities in six districts.

According to UPI, CDC said that 112 of the cases were confirmed by laboratory testing.

Software Details

The software tool — called the Epi Info viral hemorrhagic fever application — is available at no cost for download on the CDC website and is specifically designed for outbreaks of viral hemorrhagic fevers, such as:

  • Crimean-Congo;
  • Ebola;
  • Lassa;
  • Marburg; and
  • Rift Valley.

According to UPI, the software speeds up the processes of tracing, identifying and diagnosing individuals who could have been exposed to the virus.

In addition, the tool helps with the collection and management of data necessary for outbreak countermeasures, including:

  • Clinical data;
  • Epidemiologic data; and
  • Laboratory data.

The software features:

  • Virus transmission diagrams, which aid field workers with the visualization of how the outbreak is spreading among individuals; and
  • Automated tools that quicken contact tracing and analysis of data.

CDC Director Tom Frieden said the Epi Info tool is the “‘Swiss Army knife’ of field-deployed epidemiologists” (Cukan, United Press International, 4/29).

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