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Public Health. 2014 Dec;128(12):1049-58. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2014.08.018. Epub 2014 Nov 25.

Risk assessment of vector-borne diseases for public health governance.

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Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, OX1 3PS Oxford, United Kingdom. Electronic address:
Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, OX1 3PS Oxford, United Kingdom.
Centre for Zoonoses and Environmental Microbiology, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), P.O. Box 1, 3720 BA Bilthoven, The Netherlands.
Surveillance and Response Support Unit (SRS), European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Tomtebodavägen 11 A, 171 83 Stockholm, Sweden.



In the context of public health, risk governance (or risk analysis) is a framework for the assessment and subsequent management and/or control of the danger posed by an identified disease threat. Generic frameworks in which to carry out risk assessment have been developed by various agencies. These include monitoring, data collection, statistical analysis and dissemination. Due to the inherent complexity of disease systems, however, the generic approach must be modified for individual, disease-specific risk assessment frameworks.


The analysis was based on the review of the current risk assessments of vector-borne diseases adopted by the main Public Health organisations (OIE, WHO, ECDC, FAO, CDC etc…).


Literature, legislation and statistical assessment of the risk analysis frameworks.


This review outlines the need for the development of a general public health risk assessment method for vector-borne diseases, in order to guarantee that sufficient information is gathered to apply robust models of risk assessment. Stochastic (especially spatial) methods, often in Bayesian frameworks are now gaining prominence in standard risk assessment procedures because of their ability to assess accurately model uncertainties.


Risk assessment needs to be addressed quantitatively wherever possible, and submitted with its quality assessment in order to enable successful public health measures to be adopted. In terms of current practice, often a series of different models and analyses are applied to the same problem, with results and outcomes that are difficult to compare because of the unknown model and data uncertainties. Therefore, the risk assessment areas in need of further research are identified in this article.


Public Health governance; Risk assessment; Risk governance; Statistical analysis; Vector-borne diseases

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