Background To support the development of early warning and surveillance systems of emerging zoonoses, we present a general method to prioritize pathogens using a quantitative, stochastic multi-criteria model, parameterized for the Netherlands. Methodology/Principal Findings A risk score was based on seven criteria, reflecting assessments of the epidemiology and impact of these pathogens on society. Criteria were weighed, based on the preferences of a panel of judges with a background in infectious disease control. Conclusions/Significance Pathogens with the highest risk for the Netherlands included pathogens in the livestock reservoir with a high actual human disease burden (e.g. Campylobacter spp., Toxoplasma gondii, Coxiella burnetii) or a low current but higher historic burden (e.g. Mycobacterium bovis), rare zoonotic pathogens in domestic animals with severe disease manifestations in humans (e.g. BSE prion, Capnocytophaga canimorsus) as well as arthropod-borne and wildlife associated pathogens which may pose a severe risk in future (e.g. Japanese encephalitis virus and West-Nile virus). These agents are key targets for development of early warning and surveillance.
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