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SARSCONTROL — Result In Brief

Project ID: 3824
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES
Country: Netherlands

Controlling the risk of emerging infections

A European initiative used the SARS epidemic as an example for drawing up policies against similar infections.
Controlling the risk of emerging infections
The recent epidemic of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) has caused worldwide alert on the rapid spreading of viral infections across countries. Such infections can have a detrimental impact on public health and the economy, emphasising the need for communicating to the public the associated risks, as well as taking the appropriate precautionary measures.

The main objective of the EU-funded ‘Effective and acceptable strategies for the control of SARS in China and Europe’ (Sarscontrol) project was to raise awareness and improve the public’s response to emerging infections. The project brought together stakeholders and policymakers in Europe to improve on epidemic decision making. Partners concentrated on enhancing our knowledge on the spreading of viruses, assessing the risk of infection, economic analysis and risk communication strategies. More specifically, a database was developed with all SARS cases from China and compared to World Health Organization (WHO) data in order to design models on the geographical spread of the SARS virus.

By using mathematical models combined with analysis of the economic consequences of SARS infections, project members estimated the potential economic impact of various infection control strategies. Taking into account the social, cultural and psychological differences among various countries, the Sarscontrol project produced a list of recommended precautionary practices that should be adopted during infection outbreak.

Application of the Sarscontrol project deliverables is expected to improve communication and public response to SARS-like infections and minimise any adverse socioeconomic effects.

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