Although predicting which influenza virus subtype will cause the next pandemic is not yet possible, public health authorities must continually assess the pandemic risk associated with animal influenza viruses, particularly those that have caused infections in humans, and determine what resources should be dedicated to mitigating that risk. To accomplish this goal, a risk assessment framework was created in collaboration with an international group of influenza experts. Compared with the previously used approach, this framework, named the Influenza Risk Assessment Tool, provides a systematic and transparent approach for assessing and comparing threats posed primarily by avian and swine influenza viruses. This tool will be useful to the international influenza community and will remain flexible and responsive to changing information.
Keywords: H3N2v; H7N9; influenza; influenza virus; prepandemic preparation; risk assessment; viruses; zoonoses.