ebola, wuhan, coronavirus, mers, sars

high consequence infectious diseases (HCIDs)

Definition of HCID

In the UK, high consequence infectious diseases (HCIDs) are defined according to the following criteria:

  • acute infectious disease
  • typically has a high case-fatality rate
  • may not have effective prophylaxis or treatment
  • often difficult to recognise and detect rapidly
  • ability to spread in the community and within healthcare settings
  • requires an enhanced individual, population and system response to ensure it is managed effectively, efficiently and safely

HCIDs come in two basic categories, Contact HCIDs and Airborne HCIDs. Contact HCIDs are transmitted by direct contact with the patient, infected fluids, tissues and other materials, or by indirect contact with contaminated materials and fomites. Airborne HCIDs are transmitted in the water droplets in the breath exhaled by an infected individual or aerosol transmission, in addition to contact routes of transmission.

A list of HCIDs has been agreed by a joint Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England HCID Programme:

Contact HCIDAirborne HCID
Argentine haemorrhagic fever (Junin virus)Andes virus infection (hantavirus)
Bolivian haemorrhagic fever (Machupo virus)Avian influenza A H7N9 and H5N1
Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF)Avian influenza A H5N6 and H7N7
Ebola virus disease (EVD)Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)
Lassa feverMonkeypox
Lujo virus diseaseNipah virus infection
Marburg virus disease (MVD)Pneumonic plague (Yersinia pestis)
Severe fever with thrombocytopaenia syndrome (SFTS)Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
 Wuhan novel coronavirus WN-CoV or 2019-nCoV

A few of these diseases are treatable provided they are caught early enough. Most are not treatable in any meaningful way and all the healthcare team can do is try to keep you alive, alleviate some of the symptoms and reduce the pain. In all cases prevention is better than cure, which is what this site is all about.