A new free iPad app from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lets gamers assume the role of disease detective as they investigate fictional outbreaks that are based on real-life events.
CDC director Tom Frieden said in a news release the goal of the “Solve the Outbreak” game is to provide an interactive method for the public to learn about how CDC investigates and solves outbreaks. He said the agency wants people to better understand public health issues and how its staff works to protect the public health.
In the game, players get clues, review data and make decisions to determine the cause of an outbreak. The game is designed to educate players about health tips, terms and definitions involved in epidemiology, and the causes and effects of disease outbreaks.
The game app allows players to advance in rank as they earn points. Players begin as “trainees” and work their way up to the rank of “Disease Detective.”
CDC officials said in the release they hope the game catches on to the point where players are posting their scores on Facebook and Twitter and challenging their friends to compete for higher scores.
Carol Crawford, chief of the CDC’s electronic media branch, said in the release that agency officials believe the game can be a learning tool for science teachers. She said the CDC plans to add more outbreak cases to the game to keep players interested.
The game can be downloaded from the iTunes store at http://tinyurl.com/Solve-the-Outbreak.