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Risk Communication and Public Health

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.321.7267.1026/a (Published 21 October 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:1026
  1. John C Licciardone, associate professor
  1. School of Public Health, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, Texas, USA

    Eds Peter Bennett, Kenneth Calman


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    Oxford University Press, £49.50, pp 272

    ISBN 0 19 263037 7

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    An emerging disease affects 2% of the population, and treatment is effective only if the disease is caught early. Once symptoms occur treatment is no longer effective, and patients experience a slow painful death. A good screening test exists, with sensitivity approaching 100% and specificity of 90%. What is the probability of having the disease if someone tests positive on the screening test?

    Students of public health medicine may recognise this scenario as the classic example of positive predictive value. Bayesian analysis …

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