Start to complete the information table (Table 1), which then provides the supporting evidence underpinning the rapid risk assessment. If there are high-risk groups identified, an information table should be completed for the general population and for each of the groups identified as being at increased risk. This is because the risks are likely to be very different in the various groups. The information table also acts as a template (log record) for recording the evidence and its quality, and documents sources, gaps and uncertainties, which would be an integral part of the assessment process. 

Role of the expert

Where gaps in knowledge are identified and further information is required, formulate key questions and if possible get expert assessment of your conclusions from the evidence. 

  • Identify and seek advice from key experts, including public health, microbiology, infectious disease andother disease-specific experts or specialists
    • within country: previously identified national experts or through personal contacts/national public health body websites; and
    • internationally: through reports of previous outbreaks (ProMED, EWRS, IHR, websites), diseasespecific networks (e.g. ECDC Food- and Waterborne Diseases and Zoonoses (FWD) network, NoroNet, EISN), other national public health bodies, e.g. CDC, or international public health bodies,e.g. ECDC. Note: Search engines such as Google may be useful for tracking down contact details of experts.
  • Responses to key questions should be sought (‘unpack’ the expert knowledge), where possible distinguishing where this is based on:
    • previous experience;
    • opinion;
    • knowledge of evidence base (ask for key references and sources in published and grey literature).

If necessary, ask the expert to identify other experts from outside their group they would recommend speaking to (with contact details if possible). The information table should be updated as further information becomes available, ensuring document control.