Emerging infections pose a constant threat to society and can require a substantial response, thus systems to assess the threat level and inform prioritization of resources are essential. A systematic approach to assessing the risk from emerging infections to public health in the UK has been developed. This qualitative assessment of risk is performed using algorithms to consider the probability of an infection entering the UK population, and its potential impact, and to identify knowledge gaps. The risk assessments are carried out by a multidisciplinary, cross-governmental group of experts working in human and animal health. This approach has been piloted on a range of infectious threats identified by horizon scanning activities. A formal risk assessment of this nature should be considered for any new or emerging infection in humans or animals, unless there is good evidence that the infection is neither a recognized human disease nor a potential zoonosis.
- Emerging infections
- Infectious disease epidemiology
- Public health
- Risk assessment