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).