In the beginning of 2003, the world was alarmed by the emergence of a new and apparently fatal infectious disease. The disease was labelled SARS. Thanks to enormous efforts made by national and international organisations, the epidemic was brought under control by the summer of that year. In recent years, the world has also been confronted with outbreaks or threats of outbreaks of other emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza. To control new infectious diseases, the identification of the organisms, the infectivity, development of vaccines and therapies, contact tracing, isolation and screening may all be important. Many of these issues are partly dependent on human behaviours. For example, the success of prevention of infectivity (e.g. engaging in precautionary behaviours such as wearing masks, hand hygiene, isolation etc.), vaccination, contact tracing and population screening are all more or less dependent on whether people at risk comply with behavioural recommendations. Especially in the early phases of a possible epidemic, compliance to precautionary behaviours among the populations at risk is often the only means of prevention of a further spread of the disease. However, very little research has been conducted to explore the determinants of behavioural responses to infectious disease outbreaks...

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International Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Brug, H., Aro, A., & Richardus, J. H. (2009). Risk perceptions and behaviour: Towards pandemic control of emerging infectious diseases. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 16(1), 3–6. doi:10.1007/s12529-008-9000-x