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 group is a multi-agency and cross-disciplinary horizon scanning group, chaired by the PHE Emerging Infections and Zoonoses section. Members include representatives from:

  • Public Health England
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Animal and Plant Health Agency
  • Department of Health
  • Public Health Wales
  • Welsh Government
  • Health Protection Scotland
  • Scottish Government
  • 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/incidents of public health significance”, which is produced monthly.

See the Emerging Infections Summaries page.

Risk assessments and process

HAIRS reports

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

  1. HAIRS Report 2016

    • Guidance
  2. HAIRS Report 2013 to 2015

    • Guidance
  3. HAIRS Report 2011 to 2012

    • Guidance
Published 6 October 2015
Last updated 19 December 2017 + show all updates
  1. Added West Nile virus risk assessment.
  2. Added HAIRS Report 2016.
  3. Added 2 new risk assessments (Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever and leprosy in red squirrels) and updated squirrel Bornavirus.
  4. Addition of the 2013-2015 HAIRS report.
  5. Added tick-borne bacteria risk assessment.
  6. Added new risk assessment (Squirrel Bornavirus).
  7. New risk assessment (Zika virus) added
  8. Risk assessment for hantavirus added.
  9. First published.