Marie-Curie fellowship for Benny Borremans

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Benny Borremans, with whom we have been collaborating for a few years now, has been awarded a Marie-Curie fellowship. More information is provided below. Title: Spillover of Leptospira in island populations of the Channel Island fox Keywords: Leptospirosis, emerging infectious diseases, cross-species transmission, zoonosis, marine- terrestrial transmission, island ecology  Abstract: Spillover, or cross-species transmission, of pathogens from wildlife to humans is the major cause of emerging infectious diseases such as HIV, Ebola virus or SARS. Yet despite this relevance spillover as a natural process is little known, and there is a pressing need for general theory on spillover. We propose to develop a new conceptual framework for spillover, by using an interdisciplinary approach to analyse an exceptionally complete dataset of Leptospira spillover from California sea lions to endangered Channel Island…
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SIMID Workshop 2015

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The Centre for Health Economic Research and Modelling Infectious Diseases (VAXINFECTIO), University of Antwerp and the Center for Statistics (I-BioStat), Hasselt University were pleased to organise the 6th SIMID Workshop in Antwerpen from 28 to 29 April 2015.  This two-day workshop covered the use of statistical methodology in infectious disease epidemiology and for the prioritisation of interventions.  We organised sessions with methodological as well as applied research, including serological data, vector borne diseases, ebola,  as well as dynamics influenced by heterogeneity in transmission, individual behaviour and policy topics such as estimating DALYs and the cost-effectiveness of adult pneumococcal conjugate vaccination. We also organised a poster session. Flyer  - Registration  
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SIMID Course 2015

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Our sixth SIMID course will take place on 7-11 September 2015 in the historic city of Bruges (Belgium). Topics: - Day 1: General introduction to R - Day 2: Mathematical models for infectious diseases - Day 3: Estimating infectious disease parameters from serological and social contact data - Day 4: Health economic evaluations: general concepts & dealing with uncertainty - Day 5: Health economic evaluations: vaccination programs More info will be released soon!
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Ebola Round Table – How different disciplines are working together to contain Ebola

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In March 2014, an outbreak of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) was detected in Guinea, with a second wave affecting Sierra Leone and Liberia in June. The outbreak has been unprecedented in magnitude and extent, and already exceeds the sum of all previous cases since the discovery of the disease in 1976. Hasselt University and the University of Antwerp host a round table which will bring together a range of experts – biologists, infectious disease modelers, vaccine experts… – on how the worst epidemic of EVD in human history is tackled. (more…)
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Studenten lopen bij start academiejaar groter risico op mazelen

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De aula’s van hogescholen en universiteiten lopen opnieuw vol, tienduizenden studenten beginnen gemotiveerd aan een nieuw academiejaar. Antwerpse en Hasseltse onderzoekers waarschuwen hen voor een mogelijke heropflakkering van de mazelen. “Jonge twintigers werden immers niet allemaal even goed gevaccineerd, en omdat ze vele contacten hebben, zijn ze vatbaar voor het virus.” (more…)
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Active Learning to Understand Infectious Disease Models and Improve Policy Making

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In order to improve confidence in model-based conclusions, it is necessary to gain a thorough understanding of the system and assess how model assumptions and parameters alter the results. Surrogate models are very useful for this purpose since they can be readily explored. We used Pareto-aware symbolic regression to analyze input-response data from an open source individual-based model for pandemic influenza, called FluTE (Chao et al 2010). We made a visualization tool to explore the response surfaces from six parameters on the cumulative clinical attack rate. Every parameter must be chosen and the predicted response plots are shown for each parameter with all other parameters fixed. (more…)
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Summer School: Network Statistics in Health Research

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Participants of this one-week summer school will be introduced to the field of statistical analysis of network data, with an emphasis of model applications in health research. After a brief review of traditional compartmental (SIR) models and the methodology for classical descriptive network analysis, (static) Exponential family Random Graph Models (ERGMs) and dynamic temporal ERGMS will be introduced. ERGMs represent the processes that drive the formation of links in networks and are a natural and flexible tool to model (sexual) network data. Participants will learn how to develop stochastic network models for epidemics, with a focus on empirical models of HIV transmission and control. (more…)
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Mazelen uitbraak

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In een persbericht eind september 2013 werd reeds aangegeven dat een mogelijke terugkeer van mazelen in België niet uit te sluiten valt. Jonge twintigers vormen de motor van een mogelijke epidemie omdat deze groep onvolledig gevaccineerd werd in het verleden en slechts weinigen een natuurlijke infectie hebben doorgemaakt. Deze beperkte bescherming vormt een risico in combinatie met het hoge aantal sociale contacten van deze leeftijdsgroep. Daarnaast lopen pasgeborenen (0-1 jaar) ook risico omdat zij nog niet gevaccineerd zijn. Nu, slechts 8 maanden verder blijkt deze voorspelling uit te komen met een mazelen uitbraak in een crèche in Zwijndrecht. Het is belangrijk voor de dokters om zich te realiseren dat mazelen opnieuw kunnen voorkomen.
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