Scientists and gamers alike can now play disease detectives through Solve the Outbreak, a new iPad app from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The app lets users play the role of an officer in the agency’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) by navigating three fictional outbreaks based on actual events EIS officers have solved. Players get clues, review data, and make decisions to determine the cause of the outbreak.
In the game, participants become familiar with health tips, definitions, and information about epidemiology (the study of the causes and effects of health-related events). Players advance in rank as they earn points and can post their results on Facebook and Twitter to challenge their friends and followers. New outbreak cases will be added in the future.
The game is designed to help the public learn how CDC responds to and solves outbreaks, increasing general knowledge about real-life public health issues. This new approach to organizing and presenting information is intended as an innovative way to engage with the public, which is an overarching principle of the Digital Government Strategy. By developing a game that can be played and shared, the CDC is bringing new meaning to the Strategy’s tenets “anywhere and anytime.”
This application allows CDC to illustrate the challenges of solving outbreaks and how Agency disease detectives work on the front lines to save lives and protect people 24/7.
The Solve the Outbreak application is available in the iTunes store.