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Frameworks for risk communication and disease management: the case of Lyme disease and countryside users.

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Abstract

Management of zoonotic
disease is necessary if countryside users are to gain benefit rather than suffer harm from their activities, and to avoid disproportionate reaction to novel threats. We introduce a conceptual framework based on the pressure-state-response model with five broad responses to
disease incidence. Influencing public behaviour is one response and requires risk communication based on an integration of knowledge about the
disease with an understanding of how publics respond to precautionary advice. A second framework emphasizes how risk communication involves more than information provision and should address dimensions including points-of-intervention over time, place and audience. The frameworks are developed by reference to tick-borne
Lyme borreliosis (also known as
Lyme disease), for which informed precautionary behaviour is particularly relevant. Interventions to influence behaviour can be directed by knowledge of spatial and temporal variation of tick abundance, what constitutes risky behaviour, how people respond to information of varying content, and an understanding of the social practices related to countryside use. The frameworks clarify the response options and help identify who is responsible for risk communication. These aspects are not consistently understood, and may result in an underestimation of the role of land-based organizations in facilitating appropriate precautionary behaviour.

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2011 Jul 12;366(1573):2010-22. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0397. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t

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