SORMAS supports German health authorities in contact person management

HZI-developed disease control app adapted for public health services

The Covid-19 pandemic affects more and more countries worldwide. Since the virus causes no or only mild symptoms in many infected people, researchers assume that the number of unreported cases is high. In order to slow down the further spread of the virus, health authorities are focusing on consistent management of contact persons of confirmed cases of infection. For this purpose, the German Public Health Service (ÖGD) will be able to use a special version of the SORMAS disease control app in the future.

Opened disease management app SORMAS on a smartphone, held in one hand.The SORMAS app in use. © HZI / MelchingThe mobile eHealth system SORMAS (Surveillance, Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System) was developed at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) together with national and international partners in response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014. The digital epidemic control tool is already in use in several countries, including Nigeria and Ghana in districts with over 85 million inhabitants. “SORMAS addresses the need for a structured management of containment measures,” says Prof Gérard Krause, Head of Epidemiology at the HZI. The application provides an integrated digital reporting and management system for contact persons of confirmed patients. SORMAS connects users, i.e. in clinics, laboratories and authorities, via smartphones and tablets. Thus, data can be collected and exchanged in real time.

"SORMAS is a dynamic system, so that we were able to add a coronavirus module within a few days very early on during the Covid-19 outbreak," says virologist Dr. Juliane Dörrbecker, who led the design of the new module. The coronavirus module contains the most important clinical and diagnostic parameters of Covid-19 disease. "With close-meshed contact person management, we are also able to decide which contact persons require priority medical treatment and which need to be provided with information only," says Krause. The researchers at the HZI have now adapted the coronavirus module for use by the Public Health Service in Germany. “This will add efficient contact person management to the existing digital reporting system in Germany,” says Krause. Together with the Robert Koch Institute, SORMAS-ÖGD-Covid19 will be made available to all interested health authorities. The use is free of charge for the health authorities.

Further information (in German) is available on the website: www.sormas-oegd.de

For general information on the app, see the SORMAS website.

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