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Infectious Diseases Control

This research section investigates the public health consequences of infectious diseases. We also evaluate the cost-effectiveness of their control. In order to do so, we develop and apply simulation models which describe the transmission and natural history of infectious disease as well as the impact of control measures.
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Keeping microorganisms at bay around the world
Infectious diseases are an important and worldwide health problem. By international cooperation with scientific, governmental and non-governmental organizations, our research section contributes to the evaluation and development of control programs for infectious diseases in endemic countries. At the local level we collaborate to work on diseases common in the immigrant population of the city of Rotterdam, such as viral hepatitis, tuberculosis and STDs.

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Some of our recent contributions

  • Preventing the spread of leprosy - In 2009 we completed the 6-year follow-up of the COLEP study in Bangladesh. This is a randomized controlled trial on chemoprophylaxis for contacts of leprosy patients to prevent new cases. The results of the trial are incorporated in the WHO strategic plan for global leprosy control for the years 2010-2014 (Moet et al. BMJ 2008;336:761-4).
  • Improving the control of schistosomiasis - Two PhD theses by African researchers were completed in 2009 on the behavioural determinants of schistosomiasis transmission and the effects of anti-worm treatment. These studies have contributed to the improvement of control measures of this disease in Africa.
  • Assessing policies to combat the SARS epidemic - We collaborated with the Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology in the publication of a unique series of 14 in-depth articles about the SARS epidemic in China. Our assessment of the impact of public health control measures have led to fundamental changes in the Chinese health system and were also instrumental in improving epidemic preparedness in many other countries, including Europe (Trop Med Int Health 2009;14, Supplement 1)

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Ongoing projects

  • Effective Communication in Outbreak Management: development of an evidence-based tool for Europe (E-com@eu). EU funded under FP7 (2011-2015)
  • Screening for Hepatitis B and C among migrants in the European Union (HEPSCREEN). EU funded by DG Sanco (2011-2014)
  • Impact of Antiretroviral Therapy on HIV Epidemic Dynamics. Funded by NIH, United States (2009-2013)
  • Health Impact Assessment of the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control. Funded by WHO (2007-2012)
  • The combined effect of chemoprophylaxis with rifampicin and immunoprophylaxis with BCG, in the prevention of leprosy in contacts: a randomized controlled trial. Funded by MALTALEP (2011-2013)
  • Improving compliance to hand hygiene guidelines in child care centres; a stepwise behavioural intervention development and evaluation. Funded by ZonMw (2009-2012)
  • Optimization of tuberculosis control in the Netherlands: an integrated view on cost-effective strategies, with scenarios for technological, organizational, and epidemiological developments. Funded by ZonMw (2008-2012)