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Brecht Devleesschauwer

Brecht Devleesschauwer
Sciensano · Epidemiology and public health

PhD, DVM, MVSc, MStat
Generating and valorising health information to quantify state of health and support policy making

About

358
Publications
90,818
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Introduction
I am head of the Service Lifestyle and chronic diseases at Sciensano, the Belgian institute for health, and visiting professor in risk analysis at Ghent University. As senior epidemiologist, I conduct policy-driven public health research in the domain of composite measures of population health and health inequalities. I have a special interest in burden of disease, health impact assessment, and disease modelling.
Additional affiliations
October 2018 - present
Ghent University
Position
  • Lecturer
October 2016 - September 2018
Université Catholique de Louvain - UCLouvain
Position
  • Lecturer
June 2015 - March 2016
University of Florida
Position
  • Assistant Scientist
Education
September 2011 - July 2014
KU Leuven
Field of study
  • Biostatistics
October 2010 - March 2015
October 2010 - March 2015
Ghent University
Field of study
  • Veterinary sciences

Publications

Publications (358)
Chapter
Foods can be an important source of exposure to chemicals harmful to humans. To identify and prioritize effective food safety strategies, and allocate resources to the interventions with maximum public health benefit, policy makers need evidence on which hazards cause the highest burden of disease in the population. The Disability Adjusted Life Yea...
Article
Full-text available
Background In Belgium, the first COVID-19 death was reported on 10 March 2020. Nursing home (NH) residents are particularly vulnerable for COVID-19, making it essential to follow-up the spread of COVID-19 in this setting. This manuscript describes the methodology of surveillance and epidemiology of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Bel...
Article
Full-text available
Background Belgium monitors the burden of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and antimicrobial use in nursing homes (NHs) by participating in the European point prevalence surveys (PPSs) organised in long-term care facilities (HALT surveys). We present the main findings of the three national PPSs conducted in NHs participating in at least one...
Article
Full-text available
Background In Belgium, current research on socio-economic inequalities in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis has mainly focused on excess mortality and data from the first epidemiological wave. The current study adds onto this by examining the association between COVID-19 incidence and area deprivation during the first five wave and int...
Article
Full-text available
Background Burden of disease analyses quantify population health and provide comprehensive overviews of the health status of countries or specific population groups. The comparative risk assessment (CRA) methodology is commonly used to estimate the share of the burden attributable to risk factors. The aim of this paper is to identify and address so...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: Burden of Disease frameworks facilitate estimation of the health impact of diseases to be translated into a single measure, such as the Disability-Adjusted-Life-Year (DALY). Methods: DALYs were calculated as the sum of Years of Life Lost (YLL) and Years Lived with Disability (YLD) directly associated with COVID-19 in the Republic of Ire...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives Quantifying the combined impact of morbidity and mortality is a key enabler to assessing the impact of COVID-19 across countries and within countries relative to other diseases, regions, or demographics. Differences in methods, data sources, and definitions of mortality due to COVID-19 may hamper comparisons. We describe efforts to suppo...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background Foodborne and zoonotic diseases such as brucellosis present many challenges to public health and economic welfare. Increasingly, researchers and public health institutes use disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) to generate a comprehensive comparison of the population health impact of these conditions. DALYs calculations, however, entai...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) combine the impact of morbidity and mortality and can enable comprehensive, and comparable, assessments of direct and indirect health harms due to COVID-19. Our aim was to estimate DALYs directly due to COVID-19 in Scotland, during 2020; and contextualise its population impact relative to other cau...
Article
Full-text available
Seroprevalence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) IgG antibodies, using dried blood spots, was determined in October–November 2020, among residents and staff randomly selected from 20 nursing homes (NH) geographically distributed in Flanders, Belgium. Sociodemographic and medical data [including coronavirus disease 2019...
Article
Full-text available
Background COVID-19 mortality, excess mortality, deaths per million population (DPM), infection fatality ratio (IFR) and case fatality ratio (CFR) are reported and compared for many countries globally. These measures may appear objective, however, they should be interpreted with caution. Aim We examined reported COVID-19-related mortality in Belgi...
Article
Full-text available
COVID-19 has affected all countries. Its containment represents a unique challenge for India due to a large population (> 1.38 billion) across a wide range of population densities. Assessment of the COVID-19 disease burden is required to put the disease impact into context and support future pandemic policy development. Here, we present the nationa...
Preprint
Background Poor housing conditions have been associated with increased mortality. Our main objective is to investigate association between housing inequality and increased mortality and to estimate the number of deaths that could be prevented if the population of Belgium faced the mortality rates of the least deprived housing deprivation decile.Met...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose Health-related quality of life outcomes are increasingly used to monitor population health and health inequalities and to assess the (cost-) effectiveness of health interventions. The EQ-5D-5L has been included in the Belgian Health Interview Survey, providing a new source of population-based self-perceived health status information. This s...
Article
Full-text available
Background Chronic diseases and multimorbidity are a major cause of disease burden—for patients, caregivers, and society. Little is known however about potential interaction effects between specific disease combinations. Besides an additive effect, the presence of multiple conditions could also act synergistically or antagonistically regarding the...
Article
In epidemiological studies, assessment of long term exposure to air pollution is often estimated using air pollution measurements at fixed monitoring stations, and interpolated to the residence of survey participants through Geographical Information Systems (GIS). However, obtaining georeferenced address data from national registries requires a lon...
Preprint
Background Considering the current overweight and obesity epidemic and its associated increase in non-communicable diseases and healthcare costs, the current study aimed to project the trends in prevalence of overweight and obesity in Belgium using a Bayesian age-period-cohort (APC) model to support policy planning.Methods Height and weight of 58,3...
Article
Full-text available
Background The importance of assessing and monitoring the health status of a population has grown in the last decades. Consistent and high quality data on the morbidity and mortality impact of a disease represent the key element for this assessment. Being increasingly used in global and national burden of diseases (BoD) studies, the Disability-Adju...
Article
Full-text available
Exposure to chemical contaminants found in foods has been associated with diverse adverse health effects. The aim of this study was to estimate the burden of disease associated with dietary exposure to four chemicals in Denmark in 2019: lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), methylmercury (MeHg), and inorganic arsenic (i-As). We collected national food consumpti...
Article
Full-text available
Background Assessment of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) resulting from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) requires specific calculation methods and input data. The aims of this study were to: (i) identify existing NCD burden of disease (BoD) activities in Europe; (ii) collate information on data sources for mortality and morbidity; and (iii)...
Preprint
Full-text available
Objectives Burden of Disease frameworks facilitate estimation of the health impact of diseases to be translated into a single measure, such as the Disability-Adjusted-Life-Year (DALY). Methods DALYs were calculated as the sum of Years of Life Lost (YLL) and Years Lived with Disability (YLD) directly associated with COVID-19 in the Republic of Irela...
Article
Objective: Neurocysticercosis (NCC), caused by the pork tapeworm Taenia solium, is a major cause of acquired epilepsy in endemic regions. The Republic of Uganda, one of the great-lakes nations in East Africa, has undergone major strives of political instability in the past century, impeding control of T. solium and other foodborne diseases. Buildi...
Article
Full-text available
Background COVID-19-related mortality in Belgium has drawn attention for two reasons: its high level, and a good completeness in reporting of deaths. An ad hoc surveillance was established to register COVID-19 death numbers in hospitals, long-term care facilities (LTCF) and the community. Belgium adopted broad inclusion criteria for the COVID-19 de...
Article
Full-text available
Background Burden of Disease (BoD) studies use disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) as a population health metric to quantify the years of life lost due to morbidity and premature mortality for diseases, injuries and risk factors occurring in a region or a country. Small countries usually face a number of challenges to conduct epidemiological stu...
Article
Full-text available
Background The objective of the study was to describe the frequencies of health-care utilization by people with substance use disorder (SUD), including contacts with general practitioners (GP), psychiatrists, emergency departments (ED) and hospital admissions and to compare this frequency to the general population. Methods Data from the national r...
Article
Full-text available
Background Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) accounted for over 90% of all deaths in the Cypriot population, in 2018. However, a detailed and comprehensive overview of the impact of NCDs on population health of Cyprus over the period of 1990 to 2017, expressed in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), is currently not available. Knowledge about the...
Preprint
Background. The burden of chronic diseases is rapidly rising, both in terms of morbidity and mortality. This burden is disproportionally carried by socially disadvantaged population subgroups. Quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) measure the impact of disease on mortality and morbidity into a single index. This study aims to estimate the burden of c...
Article
Full-text available
Background Little is known about how patients with low socioeconomic status (SES) experience their chronic disease, and how it impacts health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Compared to their more affluent counterparts, worse outcomes have been reported. A better understanding of the domains of HRQoL that are relevant to these specific populations...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background In spite of high health expenditures and several reforms, Belgian healthcare system shows unsatisfactory health outcomes. Evidence-based decision-making is essential in a context of decreasing resources and growing health needs. This study aims to assess the health trends in Belgium between 1990 and 2019, to compare the Belgian health st...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction unCoVer—Unravelling data for rapid evidence-based response to COVID-19—is a Horizon 2020-funded network of 29 partners from 18 countries capable of collecting and using real-world data (RWD) derived from the response and provision of care to patients with COVID-19 by health systems across Europe and elsewhere. unCoVer aims to exploit t...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Facing the considerable variation in the computation of disability-adjusted life years (DALY) in the numerous updates of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study and many independent studies, the European burden of disease network (burden-eu) launched a series of systematic literature reviews (SLR) to explore the key assumptions used in the Europea...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Along with the computation of disability-adjusted life years (DALY), the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study uses the comparative risk assessment method to estimate the burden attributable to risk factors (RF). The methodology used for GBD studies has undergone continuous improvements through the years and across many independent studies. The Euro...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Facing the considerable variation in the computation of disability-adjusted life years (DALY), the European Burden of Disease Network (burden-eu) launched a series of systematic literature reviews (SLR) to explore the key variations in the assumptions used in the European burden of disease (BoD) assessments. The studies were evaluated in terms of p...
Article
Full-text available
Background Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) combine the impact of morbidity and mortality, allowing for comprehensive comparisons of the population. The aim was to estimate the DALYs due to Covid-19 in Malta (March 2020–21) and investigate its impact in relation to other causes of disease at a population level. Methods Mortality and weekly h...
Article
Full-text available
Beside diagnostic uncertainties due to the lack of a perfect gold standard test for Helicobacter pylori infection, the diagnosis and the prevalence estimation for this infection encounter particular challenges in Africa including limited diagnostic tools and specific genetic background. We developed and evaluated the accuracy of an enzyme-linked im...
Article
Full-text available
Background Literature findings on the association between polypharmacy and mortality in older people are not consistent. Appropriate tools, making use of linkages, are helpful to investigate this further. Methods Data of participants of the Belgian Health Interview Survey 2013 aged ≥ 65 years (n = 1950) were linked with billing data and 5 year’s m...
Article
Background: The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study has generated a wealth of data on death and disability outcomes in Europe. It is important to identify the disease burden that is attributable to risk factors and, therefore, amenable to interventions. This paper reports the burden attributable to risk factors, in deaths and disability-adjusted...
Article
Full-text available
Background In view of the expected increase in expenditure on hip replacement treatment in Belgium, the complication rate and potential waste reduction, as estimated by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, we are not yet in a position to assess the efficiency of hip replacement treatment in Belgian hospitals. This objective st...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background This study aimed to estimate annual health care and lost productivity costs associated with excess weight among the adult population in Belgium, using national health data. Methods Health care costs and costs of absenteeism were estimated using data from the Belgian national health interview survey (BHIS) 2013 linked with individual hea...
Preprint
Full-text available
COVID-19 has affected all countries. Its containment represents a unique challenge for India due to a large population (>1.38 billion) across a wide range of population densities. Assessment of the COVID-19 disease burden is required to put the disease impact into context and support future pandemic policy development. Here, we present the national...
Preprint
Full-text available
Exposure to chemical contaminants found in foods has been associated with diverse adverse health effects. The aim of this study was to estimate the burden of disease associated with dietary exposure to four chemicals in Denmark in 2019: lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), methylmercury (MeHg) and inorganic arsenic (i-As). We collected national food consumptio...
Article
Full-text available
Background The severity of an influenza infection is influenced by both host and viral characteristics. This study aims to assess the relevance of viral genomic data for the prediction of severe influenza A(H3N2) infections among patients hospitalized for severe acute respiratory infection (SARI), in view of risk assessment and patient management....
Article
Full-text available
Investments in animal health and Veterinary Services can have a measurable impact on the health of people and the environment. These investments require a baseline metric that describes the burden of animal health and welfare in order to justify and prioritise resource allocation and from which to measure the impact of interventions. This paper is...
Article
Full-text available
Background The InfAct (Information for Action) project is a European Commission Joint Action on Health Information which has promoted the potential role of burden of disease (BoD) approaches to improve the current European Union-Health Information System (EU-HIS). It has done so by raising awareness of the concept, the methods used to calculate est...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background The importance of assessing and monitoring the health status of a population has grown in the last decades. Consistent and high quality data on the morbidity and mortality impact of a disease represent the key element for this assessment. Being increasingly used in global and national burden of diseases (BoD) studies, the Disability-Adju...
Article
Purpose: To explore differences in the prevalence and determinants of polypharmacy in the older general population in Belgium between self-reported and prescription based estimates and assess the relative merits of each data source. Methods: Data were used from participants aged ≥ 65 years of the Belgian national health survey 2013 (n = 1950). D...
Article
Full-text available
Recent estimates have reiterated that non-fatal causes of disease, such as low back pain, headaches and depressive disorders, are amongst the leading causes of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). For these causes, the contribution of years lived with disability (YLD) - put simply, ill-health - is what drives DALYs, not mortality. Being able to...
Article
Background Increasing resistance of Plasmodium falciparum to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) threatens its usefulness for intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp-SP). The prophylactic effects of IPTp-SP on maternal malaria and adverse pregnancy outcomes were evaluated in Kingasani Hospital, Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (...
Article
Full-text available
Food wastage is an environmental concern worldwide, particularly regarding households. This study aims to identify household food wasting segments and to assess the relationship between both consumer and food product determinants and the identified segments. Data were collected through a consumer survey of several packaged chicken products (n = 256...
Preprint
Background Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) combine the impact of morbidity and mortality, allowing for comprehensive comparisons of the population health impact of diseases, injuries, and risk factors. The aim of this paper was to estimate the DALYs due to Covid-19 in Malta (March 2020-21) and investigate its impact in relation to other caus...
Article
Full-text available
Background This study aimed to estimate the socio-economic costs of uncomplicated malaria and to explore health care-seeking behaviours that are likely to influence these costs in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a country ranked worldwide as the second most affected by malaria. Methods In 2017, a cross-sectional survey included patients wi...
Article
Full-text available
Background: COVID-19 mortality in Belgium has drawn attention for two reasons, a high COVID-19 mortality, and a good completeness of deaths reporting. An ad hoc surveillance was set up to register COVID-19 deaths in hospitals, long-term care facilities (LTCFs) and the community. Belgium adopted broad inclusion criteria for the COVID-19 deaths notif...
Article
Full-text available
Background Mental health disorders appear as a growing problem in urban areas. While common mental health disorders are generally linked to demographic and socioeconomic factors, little is known about the interaction with the urban environment. With growing urbanization, more and more people are exposed to environmental stressors potentially contri...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) combine the impact of morbidity and mortality and can enable comprehensive, and comparable, assessments of direct and indirect health harms due to COVID-19. Our aim was to estimate DALYs directly due to COVID-19 in Scotland, during 2020; and contextualise its population impact relative to other cau...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: The InfAct (Information for Action) project is a European Commission Joint Action on Health Information which has promoted the potential role of burden of disease (BoD) approaches to improve the current European-Health Information System (EU-HIS). It has done so by raising awareness of the concept, the methods used to calculate estimate...
Article
Full-text available
National burden of foodborne disease (FBD) studies are essential to establish food safety as a public health priority, rank diseases, and inform interventions. In recent years, various countries have taken steps to implement them. Despite progress, the current burden of disease landscape remains scattered, and researchers struggle to translate find...
Article
Background Healthy life expectancy (HLE) is a population health measure that combines mortality and morbidity, which can be calculated using different methods. In this study, we aimed to assess the correlation, reliability and (dis)agreement between two estimates monitored in the European Union (EU), that is, the European Commission's HLE based on...