Author: Jonathan Read Date: 30 July 2012 Impact Report
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Understanding behavioural responses to infectious disease outbreaks.
How people behave, interact and travel during an epidemic could limit or exacerbate their risk of infection. In the event of a serious influenza pandemic many people may adopt precautionary behaviour, such as absenteeism from work. The cost to the UK economy through such precautionary actions may be far greater than the cost incurred through actual illness, and there is little evidence that some of the actions that people may take will actually lower their risk of infection.
To ensure that plans to cope with major epidemics and public information messages are appropriate, there is, therefore, an urgent need to anticipate how people are likely to change their behaviour in the event of an outbreak. This network aims to bring together epidemiologists, psychologists, economists and computer scientists from seven academic institutions and governmental agencies, with the goal of developing novel and innovative methods with which to measure, understand and predict how individuals change their social behaviour in response to infectious disease, and the consequent economic impact of such behaviour change.