A conceptual framework to assess the risks of human disease following exposure to pathogens

Ronald Brown, Gunther Craun, Alfred Dufour, Joe Eisenberg, Jeffery Foran, Charles Gauntt, Charles Gerba, Charles Haas, Anita Highsmith, Robert Irbe, Päivi Julkunen, Dennis Juranek, Mark LeChevallier, Myron Levine, Bruce Macler, Patricia Murphy, Pierre Payment, Fred Pfaender, Stig Regli, Alan RobersonJoan Rose, Stephen Schaub, Gilbert Schiff, Jennifer Seed, Charlotte Smith, Mark Sobsey, Robert Spear, Isabel Walls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Currently, risk assessments of the potential human health effects associated with exposure to pathogens are utilizing the conceptual framework that was developed to assess risks associated with chemical exposures. However, the applicability of the chemical framework is problematic due to many issues that are unique to assessing risks associated with pathogens. These include, but are not limited to, an assessment of pathogen/host interactions, consideration of secondary spread, consideration of short- and long-term immunity, and an assessment of conditions that allow the microorganism to propagate. To address this concern, a working group was convened to develop a conceptual framework to assess the risks of human disease associated with exposure to pathogenic microorganisms. The framework that was developed consists of three phases: problem formulation, analysis (which includes characterization of exposure and human health effects), and risk characterization. The framework emphasizes the dynamic and iterative nature of the risk assessment process, and allows wide latitude for planning and conducting risk assessments in diverse situations, each based on the common principles discussed in the framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)841-848
Number of pages8
JournalRisk Analysis
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1996


  • Pathogen risk assessment
  • framework
  • microbial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Physiology (medical)


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