The R Epidemics Consortium (RECON) together with the EPIET Alumni Network (EAN) organised a short 4-day course titled “an introduction into using R for surveillance and outbreak analytics”. The course was held from the 8-11 October 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria, and delivered by Thibaut Jombart, Zhian Kamvar, Janetta Skarp, and Savina Stoitsova. This was the first course RECON organised tailored to participants with a Field-Epidemiology background. The course was attended by more than 25 participants, arriving from all over Europe (Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK). Content of the course was determined by a survey sent to the participants well before the course started in which they stated their interests for subjects within the course.

Savina Stoitsova giving the introductory lecture with an overview of the
techniques used in the practicals

Day 1 of the course covered an introduction into the use of R, RStudio, good data science practices, and simple descriptive analyses. On Day 2, participants were acquainted with performing multi-variable analyses for outbreak investigation. Day 3 focussed on outbreak response analytics, simulating the early stages of a novel Ebola epidemics. For the last day participants were invited to bring forward their own questions regarding data analyses in R.

Zhian Kamvar presenting a live demonstration of using R.

The event was a great opportunity to bring together colleagues with experience gained in different national contexts, discuss various topics and practices in outbreak data analytics, and identify current needs and gaps to fill in today’s analytics toolbox. All materials used during this course have been made freely available on GitHub. The RECON team would like to thank our participants for coming and turning this event into a very enjoyable experience; special thanks to Savina for being such an excellent host, and showing us all around in beautiful Sofia.

Thibaut Jombart lecturing about estimating parameters via likelihood in
preparation for the Ebola practical.

We are looking forward to welcoming people to our short 2-day course in Malta coming November 19-20th 2018.