February 21, 2013
Sleuth Your Way Through An Epidemic With CDC’s New iPad App
April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be an Epidemic Intelligence Service agent, like in the movie Contagion, tracking down disease vectors and interviewing patients?
Now, thanks to an iPad app released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you can. The free app, called "Solve the Outbreak," allows users to examine a range of variables based on factual information in a burgeoning disease outbreak. The user then makes decisions just as a real CDC decision-maker would. Such questions include quarantining the city and requesting more results from the lab.
The app currently comes with three outbreak scenarios based on real-life cases, according to Forbes. According to the CDC, more will be coming soon. As the user works through the puzzle, they earn points for each clue, with higher scores for better answers. They can earn badges, starting out as a Trainee and working to the goal of Disease Detective. Scores can be posted on Facebook and Twitter, and users can challenge friends to do more at stemming the epidemic.
The CDC says that this app and other social media outlets are parts of their effort to educate the public about diseases and to promote an appreciation for public health work.
The free app is available through iTunes for Apple devices. It is not yet available for Android devices.