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The Epi Info™ Story

1986 - Version 1

Menu of the first version of Epi Info™, implemented as a DOS batch file.

A 27-page manual was added in February 1986 and the “Programs for Automatic File Definition, Data Entry, and Tabulation“were now called Epi Info™. Distribution was informal; anyone who wanted the programs was given a photocopy of the manual and a 5 1/4 inch floppy diskette.

Picture of Dr. Consuelo Beck-Sagué The first field trial of Epi Info™ and its companion “artificial intelligence“system, Epiaid, was conducted in the investigation of a syphilis epidemic in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, by Dr. Consuelo Beck-Sagué, then an EIS Officer.
The idea of high-level computer assistance in planning an investigation never caught on, and the technology of the time did not make the Epiaid programs easy to use. Epi Info™, with its practical tools for constructing questionnaires and entering and analyzing data, became ever more popular over the next few years.