Questionnaire investigations are central tools in outbreak investigations. For foodborne outbreaks that affect more than one country, it may be important to be able to quickly make questionnaires and collect data in a uniform format that can be shared and readily analysed.
Here it is suggested to use EpiData for this purpose. EpiData is a free software that has been developed for field epidemiology investigations. The EpiData programs consist of EpiDataManager (for making questionnaires), the EpiDataEntryclient (for entering data) an additional Template-Builder programme and lastly EpiDataAnalysis (for analysis, Tool 6).
Based on a series of templates of relevant related groups of questions, EpiDataManager makes it possible to rapid make a questionnaire ready for data entry. This is done by combining several templates files into a large questionnaire. Selecion of templates is based on which type of outbreak that is being investigated. This questionnaire can then be further modified in EpiDataManager. Here we provide a series of basic templates and some guidance as how to combine them.
Because it is not possible to make questionnaires that are tailor-made to future outbreaks and that take all the differences in foods and behaviours in different countries into account, the questionnaires will need to be modified for each outbreak. This, however, may be easily done in EpiDataManager, or relatively quickly by creating text templates that can then be transformed into EpiData files. Detailed instructions as how to do this are therefore also part of this tool.
Using the EpiData Entry program you can enter data into a questionnaire that you’ve made. When for instance performing telephone trawling interviews in the initial phases of an outbreak investigation, data can be entered directly into the questionnaire form during the interview. Also data can be entered directly into the questionnaire form when doing case-control studies using telephone interviews. Afterwards data files from different countries easily be exchanged and merged and data can then be analysed using the EpiData Analysis module (see Tool 6) or exported to another file format (currently only as a Stata file).
Disclaimer: EpiData is non-ECDC software. You do not need EpiData to use all the parts in the toolkit. ECDC assumes no liability for any damage or loss arising from this software.