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Operation outBREAK— AN Infectious Way

To Learn

Operating through a mobile app

(accessible on iOS and Android), the Operation Outbreak simulation unleashes a virtual pathogen through Bluetooth across participant devices, prompting a contagious outbreak that participants strive to contain.


At the forefront of infectious disease simulations stands Operation Outbreak (OO)—the epitome of in-person engagement. OO isn't just a platform; it's a dynamic force propelling the next outbreak fighters and lifelong learners in outbreak science. Central to OO is its mobile-app-driven outbreak simulation, a pulse-quickening endeavor where participants unite to thwart a fictional pathogen's Bluetooth-driven outbreak across devices.



IN Outbreak

  • Immerse
    participants in hands-on outbreak preparedness training.
  • Unveil
    the interconnectedness of outbreak response across society.
  • Equip
    participants to shape the course of future outbreaks—of any and all magnitudes.
Our Simulations

Introducing Operation Outbreak's two simulation levels: Level 1 (Basic) and Level 2 (Advanced). Our flagship, Level 2, thrusts participants into dynamic roles within the General Population (Family Units) or Work Units, demanding meticulous pre-planning facilitated by the interactive Guidebook. While Level 1 (Basic) offers a glimpse into QR-code-based interventions (e.g. masks, tests, and vaccines), Level 2 (Advanced) ignites the real excitement!

Basic Simulation
  • Participants use the OO mobile app (iOS and Android).
  • Facilitators use Outbreak Creator to set up the simulation, choosing from a variety of venue sizes and simulation speeds.
  • Facilitators choose whether to include QR-code-based interventions to simulate masks, vaccines, and tests as options during the simulation.
  • Facilitator uses Outbreak Visualizer to review ground-truth simulation data with participants after the simulation ends.
Advanced simulation
  • Everything from the Basic Simulation, PLUS...
  • Participants are immersed in role-playing of Family Units and Work Units (e.g., Government Officials, Healthcare Workers, etc.)
  • Participants wrestle with socioeconomic dynamics and constraints.
  • Participants input and analyze data in real-time through Outbreak Lookout.
  • Participants engage meta-cognitive skills through in-simulation Reflection Station activities.
video poster
How oo evolved In January 2015, amidst the West African Ebola outbreak, Dr. Todd Brown, a middle school civics educator, initiated contact with Dr. Pardis Sabeti, a Harvard University professor, seeking a Skype session for his students studying outbreak science governance. This interaction sparked Dr. Brown's creation of an outbreak science curriculum, featuring a dynamic sticker-based outbreak simulation, with Dr. Sabeti and the Sabeti Lab as enthusiastic advisors. Collaborating with Dr. Andres Colubri, a postdoctoral fellow in the Sabeti Lab, they introduced the world's first Bluetooth-based outbreak simulation in 2017, birthing Operation Outbreak (OO).
about section - background

The Operation Outbreak simulation runs through a dynamic mobile app, accessible on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.  Exclusive to smartphones (both iPhones and Androids), the app facilitates the anonymous spread of a fictional pathogen via Bluetooth among involved devices.  Moreover, it mimics the impacts of diverse interventions—such as vaccines, tests, and masks—by having participants scan intervention-linked QR codes.



it Possible

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I Want to Make Learning Infectious

Tell us about your group, and a member of the Operation Outbreak Team will be in touch.