The Human Animal Infections and Risk Surveillance (HAIRS) group is a multi-agency cross-government horizon scanning and risk assessment group.
The group’s members are representatives from:
Public Health England
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (current Chair)
Animal and Plant Health Agency
Department of Health and Social Care
Public Health Wales
Health Protection Scotland
Public Health Agency of Northern Ireland
Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Northern Ireland
Food Standards Agency
The group has met every month since February 2004 and acts as a forum to identify and discuss infections with potential for interspecies transfer (particularly zoonotic infections). The work of the HAIRS group is described in a series of reports.
A system of horizon scanning is used to identify emerging and potentially zoonotic infections which may pose a threat to UK public health. The multidisciplinary nature of the HAIRS group enables it to assess horizon scanning reports in an objective and scientific manner.
If infections are thought to be of potential significance, they are included in the ‘Infectious Disease Surveillance and Monitoring System for Animal and Human Health: Summary of notable events and incidents of public health significance’, which is produced monthly.