Working with highly pathogenic agents such as Ebola or Marburg virus in the context of infection control or biodefense research requires high-biocontainment laboratories of the Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) to protect researchers and laboratory staff from infection and to prevent the unintentional release of harmful agents. The public perception of research on highly pathogenic agents and the operation of high-containment facilities is often ambivalent: while the output of the biomedical research is highly valued, the existence of a BSL-4 lab is often viewed with concern. Biomedical research perspectives and public perceptions often differ and can lead to tensions that could have negative effects on research, society, and politics. Therefore, risk communication plays a crucial role in siting, building, and operating a high-containment facility. The Japanese government invited risk communication experts and scientists from Canada, the U.S., Europe, and Australia to discuss their risk communication strategies for BSL-4 labs. This article describes the international perspective on risk communication and gives recommendations for successful strategies
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