11. Risk Characterization and Decision Making

  1. Charles N. Haas,
  2. Joan B. Rose and
  3. Charles P. Gerba

Published Online: 13 JUN 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9781118910030.ch11

Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment, Second Edition

Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment, Second Edition

How to Cite

Haas, C. N., Rose, J. B. and Gerba, C. P. (2014) Risk Characterization and Decision Making, in Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment, Second Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, Hoboken, New Jersey. doi: 10.1002/9781118910030.ch11

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 13 JUN 2014
  2. Published Print: 14 JUL 2014

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118145296

Online ISBN: 9781118910030



  • decision making;
  • disability adjusted life years (DALY) approach;
  • quality adjusted life years (QALY) approach;
  • risk assessment;
  • valuing residual outcomes


Risk characterization “integrates the results of [dose response and exposure assessment] into a risk statement that includes one or more quantitative estimates of risk” along with both qualitative and quantitative uncertainties. One decision to be made in framing a risk estimate is what outcome(s) are most appropriate to the needs of decision makers and other stakeholders. There are a number of approaches to valuing residual outcomes. This chapter describes the disability adjusted life years (DALY) approach and then the differences of the quality adjusted life years (QALY) approach. The purpose of performing a risk characterization is to provide one input to decision makers in responding to risks. The chapter considers decision approaches based on a risk-balancing framework, and then discusses other considerations that a risk manager may wish to consider in a decision process.