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Theme 4: Improving the evidence base for risk assessment and risk reduction

This theme will generate new quantitative risk assessment approaches to improve the UK’s ability to protect public health during high-impact threats and hazards.

A series of in-depth systematic reviews of peer-reviewed, grey literature and unpublished case studies is being used to fill gaps in our understanding of the biology, epidemiology and public health threats posed by selected agents and scenarios.

Statistical methods that can identify people who may have been exposed to a hazardous agent following its release, but who have not yet developed any symptoms, will be developed for use following an outdoor aerosol release of a biological agent.

These methods have previously only been taken to proof of concept stage. We will investigate the benefits of applying modern statistical approaches such as Bayesian MCMC to this problem and develop statistical approaches that estimate the potential consequences of public health interventions. These will incorporate realistic delays and operational constraints in the delivery of prophylaxis.

This work will build on the expertise of the theme leads and their teams in operational research, modelling, microbial risk assessment and food- and water-borne disease threats.

Lead researchers

Professor Paul Hunter

Professor of Health Protection at the University of East Anglia

University of East Anglia

Professor Steve Leach

Scientific Programme Head, Science and Technology Team in the Emergency Response Department.

Public Health England