Epi-X: Building a Network to Save Lives

If public health practice is about social networks, then the Epidemic Information Exchange (Epi-X) is a prime example of an efficient channel for seasoned public health professionals to broaden their current networks and a way for new public health professionals to jumpstart their own.

The Epi-X network includes epidemiologists, laboratorians, veterinarians, health officers, environmental health specialists, statisticians, pharmacologists, and other key health officials from local, state, and federal agencies. Epi-X works continuously with these partners, providing the guidance and support needed to handle a variety of health threats.

Secure Communication is Critical Need

What unites all of us in this network is our need to communicate preliminary or sensitive information about outbreaks and other health events in a secure environment so causes of disease can quickly be identified and eliminated, which is the core of the mission of public health. Epi-X applies groundbreaking health and medical research and real-time emergency response to keep people safe, healthy, and secure.

As CDC’s only secure communication channel, Epi-X allows public health officials to share information with their peers before patterns emerge that might indicate an outbreak or other serious health event. In many instances, these reports have led to early detection of disease, identification of vectors and reservoirs of disease, and routes of disease transmission. This process ultimately promotes disease prevention and saves lives.

Our work demonstrates that the U.S. cannot afford to stop investing in public health because protecting our citizens from health epidemics and infectious diseases is a legitimate responsibility of the federal government.

Page last reviewed: March 19, 2014