The Epi Info Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (VHF) Application: A Resource for Outbreak Data Management and Contact Tracing in the 2014–2016 West Africa Ebola Epidemic

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The Epi Info Viral Hemorrhagic Fever application (Epi Info VHF) was developed in response to challenges managing outbreak data during four 2012 filovirus outbreaks. Development goals included combining case and contact data in a relational database, facilitating data-driven contact tracing, and improving outbreak data consistency and use. The application was first deployed in Guinea, when the West Africa Ebola epidemic was detected, in March 2014, and has been used in 7 African countries and 2 US states. Epi Info VHF enabled reporting of compatible data from multiple countries, contributing to international Ebola knowledge. However, challenges were encountered in accommodating the epidemic′s unexpectedly large magnitude, addressing country-specific needs within 1 software product, and using the application in settings with limited Internet access and information technology support. Use of Epi Info VHF in the West Africa Ebola epidemic highlighted the fundamental importance of good data management for effective outbreak response, regardless of the software used.

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