Human Animal Infections and Risk Surveillance group (HAIRS)

The Human Animal Infections and Risk Surveillance (HAIRS) group identifies and assesses emerging infection risks to human health.

The Human Animal Infections and Risk Surveillance (HAIRS) group is a multi-agency cross-government horizon scanning and risk assessment group. It aims to identify and risk assess emerging and potentially zoonotic infections which may pose a threat to UK public health. Since its establishment in early 2004, there has been a steady evolution and development of the risk assessment processes used by the group.

Members of the HAIRS group identify potential hazards (either zoonotic agents, syndromes or emerging infections). These undergo an initial review whereby a brief overview of all currently available information on the identified hazard is compiled and provided to HAIRS members to determine further actions. These include logging a hazard for awareness and ongoing monitoring, producing a risk review statement (where insufficient information is available for a formal risk assessment or a comprehensive risk assessment is not deemed necessary), or performing a formal risk assessment using existing zoonotic potential or emerging infections probability and impact algorithms (see HAIRS risk assessment process).

The group routinely reviews and updates HAIRS risk assessments and statements.

Risk assessment process

Risk assessments and statements

HAIRS reports

For earlier HAIRS Reports (from 2004), see the archive.

Risk assessments by partner agencies: Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

DEFRA, FSA and PHE have undertaken qualitative risk assessments of the risk of CWD being introduced into the UK, and of food and non-food exposures.

Published 6 October 2015
Last updated 19 July 2022 + show all updates
  1. Added 'Avian influenza in UK seal populations: HAIRS risk assessment'.

  2. Added 'HAIRS risk assessment: monkeypox'.

  3. Updated introductory text and linked to the new group page.

  4. Added 'HAIRS risk statement: Brucella canis'.

  5. Added SARS-CoV-2 in Mustelinae population risk assessment.

  6. Update to HAIRS membership.

  7. Added HAIRS risk assessment: Usutu virus.

  8. Added risk assessment for canine leishmaniosis.

  9. Added risk assessment for tick-borne encephalitis.

  10. Added 2019 update to 'HAIRS risk assessment: squirrel Bornavirus'.

  11. Added rIsk assessment process.

  12. HAIRS Report 2017 added.

  13. Added risk assessments for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), completed by partner agencies.

  14. Added West Nile virus risk assessment.

  15. Added HAIRS Report 2016.

  16. Added 2 new risk assessments (Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever and leprosy in red squirrels) and updated squirrel Bornavirus.

  17. Addition of the 2013-2015 HAIRS report.

  18. Added tick-borne bacteria risk assessment.

  19. Added new risk assessment (Squirrel Bornavirus).

  20. New risk assessment (Zika virus) added

  21. Risk assessment for hantavirus added.

  22. First published.