Literature review on effective risk communication for the prevention and control of communicable diseases in Europe. Insights into health communication
Resumen: There is an impressive body of literature on risk communication relevant to the
prevention and control of communicable diseases. This literature is complicated, however, by blurred definitions
and overlap between risk communication and crisis communication. It is also widely dispersed across academic
disciplines, lacking rigorous empirical evidence to demonstrate effectiveness, challenged by the complex and
unpredictable ways that individuals perceive risk and the environmental, social, cultural and linguistic factors
through which risk communication is viewed.
At the European level, there is a need to bring the work on risk communication for communicable diseases
together on many levels:
Theoretical models of risk communication must be integrated across disciplines.
The bridge between academic research and risk communication in practice needs to be strengthened (that
is, findings of research need to be better communicated to end users and built into risk communication
planning, guidance documents, training modules).
Risk communicators should be collaborating more closely with community-level health providers and media.
In addition, there is consensus in much of the literature reviewed on the need for coordinated leadership at the
European level to ensure structured and systematic approaches to risk communication planning, preparedness and
We have a clearer picture today than a decade ago about the requirements, parameters and challenges of
communicating risks of co