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Pathogen Tracker — The Game!

Ever wonder how the other half lives? Pathogen Tracker is an on-line game that lets you experience a foodborne illness outbreak from the standpoint of an epidemiologist appointed to a government agency charged with tracing this outbreak and preventing another one:

Welcome to Pathogen Tracker. You are now a member of the Foodborne Illness Investigators (FBII), a government agency dedicated to investigating dangerous outbreaks of foodborne illness. Using a combination of sophisticated technology and solid detective work, we trace these outbreaks to their source and prevent further contamination of the food supply. Pathogen tracking is a serious task; foodborne illness affects nearly a quarter of the American population each year, with approximately 5,000 of these cases ending in death.

As our newest detective, we’re going to start you right off with a tough case. Throughout your investigation, you’ll receive instructions from the chief via e-mail. You’ll do most of your work using the case file, which contains all the particulars of the case. The lab can help with the nitty-gritty science behind pathogen tracking. Also, the encyclopedia is always available to offer background information on pathogens and the science of pathogen tracking. When it’s time to use one of these resources the word will be shown in “bold” and its link on the right will be highlighted in “red”. Take a look in the encyclopedia to get some background info on pathogens, and then check out the case file for your first case!

Go ahead and give it try. It will help you understand what is going on the next time an outbreak hits, and it’s kind of fun. You can play Pathogen Tracker right here.

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