E-bola: Watch Virus's Developments With This App

With thousands of cases and escalating confirmed deaths attributed to the Ebola virus in Africa right now, it has become important to keep tabs on the spread of disease, preferably from as far away as possible. The CDC has stepped in to help, creating a new category in their Epi Info app to help monitor the outbreak.

As reported by gcn.com, the "contact tracing" ability of the app makes it possible to deduce where certain carriers of the disease have caused it to spread, allowing for others to avoid possible danger zones. The viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) app creates databases of crucial patient information, such as names, locations, ages, gender, and the especially important "dead or alive" status. Those classified as "sick and isolated" with no further information are also considered cases. Aid workers can then use the data to visualize and assess VHF problems.

Once downloaded, the app is functional sans internet connection, which is useful in the many remote areas in which the disease flourishes. The Epi Info app also can be used to track other epidemics, such as Marburg, Crimean-Congo, Rift Valley, and Lassa. Hopefully, the current Ebola crisis can be partially mitigated in thanks to this careful observational/informational aid, in conjunction with dedicated workers.

“The bottom line with Ebola is we know how to stop it: traditional public health,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden. “Find patients, isolate and care for them; find their contacts; educate people; and strictly follow infection control in hospitals. Do those things with meticulous care and Ebola goes away.”

Maybe head to any other continent for vacation this year.

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