APHA Communicable Disease Manual Goes Mobile: Reference now Available Online, Via Range of Mobile Devices

Teddi Dineley Johnson


Nations Health. 2010;40(4) 

Abstract and Introduction


The premier reference manual on controlling communicable diseases is now more accessible than ever. With the release of the digital version of APHA's renowned "Control of Communicable Diseases Manual," public health workers around the globe can rapidly access crucial information about hundreds of infectious diseases on their mobile devices and on the Internet.

"Control of Communicable Diseases Manual for Mobile + Web" repackages the print edition's comprehensive and up-to-date information about the occurrence, transmission, resistance and control of infectious diseases and makes it available for download to a range of mobile devices — including iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Windows Mobile and Palm — or to a laptop or personal computer.

Created through a partnership between APHA and Unbound Medicine Inc. in Charlottesville, Va., the digital manual's easy-to-consult format is designed to help public health workers get answers fast.

"If infectious disease information and control is a critical part of what you do, and you want to have the information at your disposal the second you need it, that's what this product does," said Bill Detmer, MD, MSc, president and CEO of Unbound Medicine Inc.

Unbound Medicine's technology platform allows the content to be viewed on a user's choice of mobile device, Detmer said.

"It is designed to give you access to the content everywhere, and have it look similar everywhere, but to take advantage of the particular device you are on," Detmer told The Nation's Health. "In the field, you would be able to pull this out of your pocket, start typing in the name of a disease, such as 'malaria,' and it would take you directly to it. Right there in the field you would have everything that's in the book."

For the price of a subscription, users gain access to all of the information contained in the 19th edition of APHA's renowned print version of the manual, which is applicable in all countries and on all continents, according to the book's editor, David L. Heymann, MD.

"The manual has come a long way since it was first published almost a century ago, evolving through dozens of revisions into a state-of-the-art, real-time electronic publication and offering all the advantages that digital technology makes possible," Heymann told The Nation's Health. "By having both an electronic and a hard-copy version, readers can choose the way they access this important content."

Heymann said the print manual will continue to serve as a state-of-the-art desktop reference published at regular intervals for public health workers in the field.

"Since 1916, public health workers, physicians, government health agencies and students have relied on the 'Control of Communicable Diseases Manual' and its key concepts — epidemiology of infectious disease and its surveillance, prevention and control — to help prevent and manage the spread of diseases," said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), executive director of APHA. "By partnering with Unbound Medicine, we can now help people find answers at the bedside, in the field or in the office."

Among the many communicable disease topics addressed in the "Control of Communicable Diseases Manual" are AIDS, hepatitis, influenza, polio, pneumonia, measles, mumps, sexually transmitted diseases and smallpox. A list of topics, some of which are available as free samples, is online.


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