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Effective and acceptable strategies for the control of SARS and new emerging infections in China and Europe

EC contribution
: € 2 500 000
: 39 months
Starting date
: January 1, 2005
: IP
: SARS, pandemic influenza, avian influenza, public health, infectious disease control, epidemiology
Project Number
: SP22-CT-2004-003824


The epidemic of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) showed that new infections transmitted through close contact are able to spread rapidly across international borders resulting in significant morbidity. They can even cause widespread public alarm and economic loss in unaffected countries. It is therefore crucial to assess the likelihood of similar occurrences and their possible impact on public health, economic performance and public concern.

SARSControl aims to improve the public health response to emerging infections, such as SARS and influenza, through better knowledge of the spread of these viruses, improved risk assessment, mathematical modelling, and economic analysis and risk communication strategies. All of these activities will be performed in conjunction with policymakers and key stakeholders in Europe, thus helping to improve the quality of decision-making. A database with all SARS cases from mainland China, in conjunction with World Health Organization (WHO) data, will be used to help develop models for the local and geographical spread of SARS.

A toolbox of models will be developed covering the range of alternative approaches. By standardising epidemiological and control parameters, a consensus view on model-based policy recommendations will be derived. These model results will be combined with analyses of the micro- and macroeconomic consequences of SARS-like infections to evaluate the potential economic impact of different control options.

Because the acceptance of interventions depends on social, cultural and psychological factors, SARS-related risk perceptions and precautionary practices will be studied along with the risk communication strategies adopted during the outbreak to help improve future strategies for communicating with the public. Vulnerable communities, such as the Chinese in Europe, will receive particular attention. SARSControl is therefore an integrated multidisciplinary project to aid European policy on emerging infections.

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