Mobile Technology Key to Containing Ebola in West Africa

Why should I care? / October 9, 2014

Contact tracing has become a well-known term as the world learns more about the Ebola crisis and how to contain it.

It was through this method that people who came into contact with Liberian Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan were notified that they were exposed to the Ebola virus through having come into contact with him.

Duncan died in a Dallas, Texas hospital on October 8.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Joel Selanikio says time is of the essence in getting communication out to people in a crisis situation such as the Ebola crisis.

Mobile data collection

His company, Magpi, uses a mobile data collection and messaging software tool that expedites vital information to people in Africa and other regions of the world, in crisis situations.

“What Magpi does is it recognizes that within global health, for example during this Ebola outbreak, there’s a lot of information that needs to be collected,” said Selanikio.

“I’m sure that your listeners and viewers have heard of contact tracing at this point, something I think very few Americans were aware of before the case in Dallas. The thing that has to happen in Dallas besides treating that poor man with Ebola, (referring to Thomas Eric Duncan who has since passed away), is to track down everyone who might have come into contact with him,” explained the infectious disease expert.

He further explained that in tracking down those people, the CDC develops a data base that collects the pertinent, detailed and vast information and history on each person, so that they can be monitored for changes over time.

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