Sake J de Vlas

Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, South Holland, Netherlands

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Publications (191)749.29 Total impact

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    Full-text · Article · Dec 2016 · Parasites & Vectors
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    ABSTRACT: Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) is a neglected vector-borne disease. In India, it is transmitted to humans by Leishmania donovani-infected Phlebotomus argentipes sand flies. In 2005, VL was targeted for elimination by the governments of India, Nepal and Bangladesh by 2015. The elimination strategy consists of rapid case detection, treatment of VL cases and vector control using indoor residual spraying (IRS). However, to achieve sustained elimination of VL, an appropriate post elimination surveillance programme should be designed, and crucial knowledge gaps in vector bionomics, human infection and transmission need to be addressed. This review examines the outstanding knowledge gaps, specifically in the context of Bihar State, India. The knowledge gaps in vector bionomics that will be of immediate benefit to current control operations include better estimates of human biting rates and natural infection rates of P. argentipes, with L. donovani, and how these vary spatially, temporally and in response to IRS. The relative importance of indoor and outdoor transmission, and how P. argentipes disperse, are also unknown. With respect to human transmission it is important to use a range of diagnostic tools to distinguish individuals in endemic communities into those who: 1) are to going to progress to clinical VL, 2) are immune/ refractory to infection and 3) have had past exposure to sand flies. It is crucial to keep in mind that close to elimination, and post-elimination, VL cases will become infrequent, so it is vital to define what the surveillance programme should target and how it should be designed to prevent resurgence. Therefore, a better understanding of the transmission dynamics of VL, in particular of how rates of infection in humans and sand flies vary as functions of each other, is required to guide VL elimination efforts and ensure sustained elimination in the Indian subcontinent. By collecting contemporary entomological and human data in the same geographical locations, more precise epidemiological models can be produced. The suite of data collected can also be used to inform the national programme if supplementary vector control tools, in addition to IRS, are required to address the issues of people sleeping outside.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Parasites & Vectors
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    ABSTRACT: Quantitative analysis and mathematical models are useful tools in informing strategies to control or eliminate disease. Currently, there is an urgent need to develop these tools to inform policy to achieve the 2020 goals for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). In this paper we give an overview of a collection of novel model-based analyses which aim to address key questions on the dynamics of transmission and control of nine NTDs: Chagas disease, visceral leishmaniasis, human African trypanosomiasis, leprosy, soil-transmitted helminths, schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis and trachoma. Several common themes resonate throughout these analyses, including: the importance of epidemiological setting on the success of interventions; targeting groups who are at highest risk of infection or re-infection; and reaching populations who are not accessing interventions and may act as a reservoir for infection,. The results also highlight the challenge of maintaining elimination ‘as a public health problem’ when true elimination is not reached. The models elucidate the factors that may be contributing most to persistence of disease and discuss the requirements for eventually achieving true elimination, if that is possible. Overall this collection presents new analyses to inform current control initiatives. These papers form a base from which further development of the models and more rigorous validation against a variety of datasets can help to give more detailed advice. At the moment, the models’ predictions are being considered as the world prepares for a final push towards control or elimination of neglected tropical diseases by 2020.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Parasites & Vectors
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    Luc E. Coffeng · Roel Bakker · Antonio Montresor · Sake J. de Vlas
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    ABSTRACT: Globally, hookworms infect 440 million people in developing countries. Especially children and women of childbearing age are at risk of developing anaemia as a result of infection. To control hookworm infection and disease (i.e. reduce the prevalence of medium and heavy infection to <1 %), the World Health Organization has set the target to provide annual or semi-annual preventive chemotherapy (PC) with albendazole (ALB) or mebendazole (MEB) to at least 75 % of all children and women of childbearing age in endemic areas by 2020. Here, we predict the feasibility of achieving <1 % prevalence of medium and heavy infection, based on simulations with an individual-based model. We developed WORMSIM, a new generalized individual-based modelling framework for transmission and control of helminths, and quantified it for hookworm transmission based on published data. We simulated the impact of standard and more intense PC strategies on trends in hookworm infection, and explored the potential additional impact of interventions that improve access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). The individual-based framework allowed us to take account of inter-individual heterogeneities in exposure and contribution to transmission of infection, as well as in participation in successive PC rounds. We predict that in low and medium endemic areas, current PC strategies (including targeting of WCBA) will achieve control of hookworm infection (i.e. the parasitological target) within 2 years. In highly endemic areas, control can be achieved with semi-annual PC with ALB at 90 % coverage, combined with interventions that reduce host contributions to the environmental reservoir of infection by 50 %. More intense PC strategies (high frequency and coverage) can help speed up control of hookworm infection, and may be necessary in some extremely highly endemic settings, but are not a panacea against systematic non-participation to PC. Control of hookworm infection by 2020 is feasible with current PC strategies (including targeting of WCBA). In highly endemic areas, PC should be combined with health education and/or WASH interventions.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Parasites & Vectors
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    David J. Blok · Sake J. De Vlas · Jan Hendrik Richardus
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    ABSTRACT: Every year more than 200,000 new leprosy cases are registered globally. This number has been fairly stable over the past 8 years. WHO has set a target to interrupt the transmission of leprosy globally by 2020. The aim of this study is to investigate whether this target, interpreted as global elimination, is feasible given the current control strategy. We focus on the three most important endemic countries, India, Brazil and Indonesia, which together account for more than 80 % of all newly registered leprosy cases. We used the existing individual-based model SIMCOLEP to predict future trends of leprosy incidence given the current control strategy in each country. SIMCOLEP simulates the spread of M. leprae in a population that is structured in households. Current control consists of passive and active case detection, and multidrug therapy (MDT). Predictions of leprosy incidence were made for each country as well as for one high-endemic region within each country: Chhattisgarh (India), Pará State (Brazil) and Madura (Indonesia). Data for model quantification came from: National Leprosy Elimination Program (India), SINAN database (Brazil), and Netherlands Leprosy Relief (Indonesia). Our projections of future leprosy incidence all show a downward trend. In 2020, the country-level leprosy incidence has decreased to 6.2, 6.1 and 3.3 per 100,000 in India, Brazil and Indonesia, respectively, meeting the elimination target of less than 10 per 100,000. However, elimination may not be achieved in time for the high-endemic regions. The leprosy incidence in 2020 is predicted to be 16.2, 21.1 and 19.3 per 100,000 in Chhattisgarh, Pará and Madura, respectively, and the target may only be achieved in another 5 to 10 years. Our predictions show that although country-level elimination is reached by 2020, leprosy is likely to remain a problem in the high-endemic regions (i.e. states, districts and provinces with multimillion populations), which account for most of the cases in a country.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Parasites & Vectors
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The World Health Organization (WHO) has set ambitious targets for the elimination of onchocerciasis by 2020-2025 through mass ivermectin treatment. Two different mathematical models have assessed the feasibility of reaching this goal for different settings and treatment scenarios, namely the individual-based microsimulation model ONCHOSIM and the population-based deterministic model EPIONCHO. In this study, we harmonize some crucial assumptions and compare model predictions on common outputs. Methods: Using a range of initial endemicity levels and treatment scenarios, we compared the models with respect to the following outcomes: 1) model-predicted trends in microfilarial (mf) prevalence and mean mf intensity during 25 years of (annual or biannual) mass ivermectin treatment; 2) treatment duration needed to bring mf prevalence below a provisional operational threshold for treatment interruption (pOTTIS, i.e. 1.4 %), and 3) treatment duration needed to drive the parasite population to local elimination, even in the absence of further interventions. Local elimination was judged by stochastic fade-out in ONCHOSIM and by reaching transmission breakpoints in EPIONCHO. Results: ONCHOSIM and EPIONCHO both predicted that in mesoendemic areas the pOTTIS can be reached with annual treatment, but that this strategy may be insufficient in very highly hyperendemic areas or would require prolonged continuation of treatment. For the lower endemicity levels explored, ONCHOSIM predicted that the time needed to reach the pOTTIS is longer than that needed to drive the parasite population to elimination, whereas for the higher endemicity levels the opposite was true. In EPIONCHO, the pOTTIS was reached consistently sooner than the breakpoint. Conclusions: The operational thresholds proposed by APOC may have to be adjusted to adequately reflect differences in pre-control endemicities. Further comparative modelling work will be conducted to better understand the main causes of differences in model-predicted trends. This is a pre-requisite for guiding elimination programmes in Africa and refining operational criteria for stopping mass treatment.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Parasites & Vectors
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    ABSTRACT: Background: HIV and tuberculosis (TB) services are provided free of charge in many sub-Saharan African countries, but patients still incur costs. Methods: Patient-exit interviews were conducted in primary health care clinics in rural South Africa with representative samples of 200 HIV-infected patients enrolled in a pre-antiretroviral treatment (pre- ART) program, 300 patients receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART), and 300 patients receiving TB treatment. For each group, we calculated health expenditures across different spending categories, time spent traveling to and using services, and how patients financed their spending. Associations between patient group and costs were assessed in multivariate regression models. Results: Total monthly health expenditures [1 USD = 7.3 South African Rand (ZAR)] were ZAR 171 [95% confidence interval (CI): 134 to 207] for pre-ART, ZAR 164 (95% CI: 141 to 187) for ART, and ZAR 122 (95% CI: 105 to 140) for TB patients (P = 0.01). Total monthly time costs (in hours) were 3.4 (95% CI: 3.3 to 3.5) for pre-ART, 5.0 (95% CI: 4.7 to 5.3) for ART, and 3.2 (95% CI: 2.9 to 3.4) for TB patients (P < 0.01). Although overall patient costs were similar across groups, pre-ART patients spent on average ZAR 29.2 more on traditional healers and ZAR 25.9 more on chemists and private doctors than ART patients, whereas ART patients spent ZAR 34.0 more than pre-ART patients on transport to clinics (P < 0.05 for all results). Thirty-one percent of pre-ART, 39% of ART, and 41% of TB patients borrowed money or sold assets to finance health care. Conclusions: Patients receiving nominally free care for HIV/TB face large private costs, commonly leading to financial distress. Subsidized transport, fewer clinic visits, and drug pick-up points closer to home could reduce costs for ART patients, potentially improving retention and adherence. Large expenditure on alternative care among pre-ART patients suggests that transitioning patients to ART earlier, as under HIV treatmentas- prevention policies, may not substantially increase patients' financial burden.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Since its initiation in 1995, the African Program for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) has had a substantial impact on the prevalence and burden of onchocerciasis through annual ivermectin mass treatment. Ivermectin is a broad-spectrum anti-parasitic agent that also has an impact on other co-endemic parasitic infections. In this study, we roughly assessed the additional impact of APOC activities on the burden of the most important off-target infections: soil-transmitted helminthiases (STH; ascariasis, trichuriasis, hookworm, and strongyloidiasis), lymphatic filariasis (LF), and scabies. Based on a literature review, we formulated assumptions about the impact of ivermectin treatment on the disease burden of these off-target infections. Using data on the number of ivermectin treatments in APOC regions and the latest estimates of the burden of disease, we then calculated the impact of APOC activities on off-target infections in terms of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) averted. We conservatively estimated that between 1995 and 2010, annual ivermectin mass treatment has cumulatively averted about 500 thousand DALYs from co-endemic STH infections, LF, and scabies. This impact comprised approximately an additional 5.5% relative to the total burden averted from onchocerciasis (8.9 million DALYs) and indicates that the overall cost-effectiveness of APOC is even higher than previously reported.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Mathematical modelling is used to estimate the effectiveness of HPV vaccination. These estimates depend strongly on herd immunity and thus on naturally acquired immunity, a mechanism of which little is known. We estimated the impact of different vaccination strategies on HPV-16 and HPV-18 transmission and cervical cancer incidence in the Netherlands, considering different acquired immunity mechanisms. Methods: We used the STDSIM microsimulation model, and considered two mechanisms for acquired immunity after infection: (I) full immunity with variable duration; (II) cumulatively decreasing susceptibility to reinfection. Girls aged 13-16 years received vaccination (94.7% efficacy for HPV-16 and 92.3% for HPV-18) during a once-off catch-up campaign with 50% coverage, followed by annual vaccination of 12-year-old girls (60% coverage). Alternative vaccination scenarios included increased coverage, including boys, and lower vaccine efficacy. Results: HPV-16 incidence reduced by 64% under mechanism I and 75% under mechanism II; HPV-18 incidence reduced by 58% and 73%, respectively, and these reductions lead to 48-56% fewer cervical cancer cases. Increasing coverage can lead to over 96% reduction in HPV incidence. Vaccinating boys reduced incidence by 79-89% for HPV-16 and 83-98% for HPV-18 in women. Conclusions: Effectiveness estimates of HPV vaccination differ slightly between different acquired immunity mechanisms, yet these differences are unlikely to affect policy decisions. Offering vaccination to boys as well may be considered to further reduce cancer incidence.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Vaccine
  • R. Cai · W. Cai · J. Zhao · L. Chen · Z. Yang · W. Tan · C. Zhang · Y. Gan · Y. Zhang · J. Tan · J.H. Richards · S.J. De Vlas
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    ABSTRACT: We recruited 510 male sex workers (also referred as 'money boys' (MBs) and 533 other men who have sex with men (MSM) to investigate determinants of recent (last year) HIV testing in Shenzhen, China. Overall, 43% of MBs and 48% of other MSM reported having been tested for HIV in the last year. The most important determinant of testing among MBs was having multiple anal sex partners; among other MSM, the most important determinants were having a homosexual orientation and having a history of sexually transmissible infection. For MBs, education programs are needed to increase their awareness of actual HIV risk. For other MSM, destigmatising programs are needed.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Sexual Health

  • No preview · Conference Paper · Sep 2015

  • No preview · Conference Paper · Sep 2015
  • L. E. Coffeng · R. Bakker · S. J. de Vlas

    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Tropical Medicine & International Health
  • Rui Cai · Jin Zhao · Wende Cai · Lin Chen · Jan Hendrik Richardus · Sake J. de Vlas

    No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Sexual Health
  • David J Blok · Sake J de Vlas · Roel Bakker · Frank J van Lenthe
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    ABSTRACT: Individual and environmental factors dynamically interact in shaping income inequalities in healthy food consumption. The agent-based model, Health Behaviors Simulation (HEBSIM), was developed to describe income inequalities in healthy food consumption. It simulates interactions between households and their environment. HEBSIM was used to explore the impact of interventions aimed at reducing food consumption inequalities. HEBSIM includes households and food outlets. Households are characterized by location, composition, income, and preference for food. Decisions about where to shop for food (fruit/vegetable stores, supermarkets, or discount supermarkets) and whether to visit fast food outlets are based on distance, price, and food preference. Food outlets can close and new food outlets can enter the system. Three interventions to reduce healthy food consumption inequalities were tested: (1) eliminating residential segregation; (2) lowering the prices of healthy food; and (3) providing health education. HEBSIM was quantified using data from Statistics Netherlands, Statistics Eindhoven, and the GLOBE study (2011). The model mimicked food consumption in Eindhoven. High-income households visited healthy food shops more often than low-income households. Eliminating residential segregation had the largest impact in reducing income inequalities in food consumption, but resulted partly from a worsening in healthy food consumption in high-income households. Lowering prices and health education could also substantially reduce inequalities. Most interventions took 5-10 years to reach their (almost) full effects. HEBSIM is a promising tool for studying dynamic interactions between households and their environment and for assessing the impact of interventions on income inequalities in food consumption. Copyright © 2015 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · American journal of preventive medicine
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    ABSTRACT: HIV and TB services are provided free-of-charge in many sub-Saharan African countries, but patients still incur costs. Patient-exit interviews were conducted with a representative sample of 200 HIV-infected patients not yet on ART (pre-ART), 300 ART patients, and 300 TB patients receiving public sector care in rural South Africa. For each group, we calculated health expenditures across different spending categories, time spent traveling to and utilizing services, and how patients financed their spending. Associations between patient group and costs were assessed in multivariate regression models. Total monthly health expenditures (7.3 South African Rand: 1 USD) were: 171 (95%CI 134-207) for pre-ART, 164 (95%CI 141-187) for ART, and 122 (95%CI 105-140) for TB patients. Total monthly time costs (in hours) were: 3.4 (95%CI 3.3-3.5) for pre-ART, 5.0 (95%CI 4.7-5.3) for ART and 3.2 (95%CI 2.9-3.4) for TB patients. Though costs were similar across groups, pre-ART patients spent significantly more on traditional healers, chemists, and private doctors, while ART and TB patients spent more on transport to clinic visits. 31% of pre-ART, 39% of ART and 41% of TB patients borrowed money or sold assets to finance health costs. Patients receiving nominally free care for HIV/TB face large private costs. Subsidized transport, fewer clinic visits, and drug pick-up points closer to home could reduce costs for ART patients, potentially improving adherence and retention. Large expenditure on alternative care among pre-ART patients suggests that transitioning patients to ART earlier, as under TASP, may not impose substantial costs on patients.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
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    ABSTRACT: Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 has posed a significant threat to both humans and birds, and it has spanned large geographic areas and various ecological systems throughout Asia, Europe and Africa, but especially in mainland China. Great efforts in control and prevention of the disease, including universal vaccination campaigns in poultry and active serological and virological surveillance, have been undertaken in mainland China since the beginning of 2006. In this study, we aim to characterize the spatial and temporal patterns of HPAI H5N1, and identify influencing factors favoring the occurrence of HPAI H5N1 outbreaks in poultry in mainland China. Our study shows that HPAI H5N1 outbreaks took place sporadically after vaccination campaigns in poultry, and mostly occurred in the cold season. The positive tests in routine virological surveillance of HPAI H5N1 virus in chicken, duck, goose as well as environmental samples were mapped to display the potential risk distribution of the virus. Southern China had a higher positive rate than northern China, and positive samples were mostly detected from chickens in the north, while the majority were from duck in the south, and a negative correlation with monthly vaccination rates in domestic poultry was found (R = −0.19, p value = 0.005). Multivariate panel logistic regression identified vaccination rate, interaction between distance to the nearest city and national highway, interaction between distance to the nearest lake and wetland, and density of human population, as well as the autoregressive term in space and time as independent risk factors in the occurrence of HPAI H5N1 outbreaks, based on which a predicted risk map of the disease was derived. Our findings could provide new understanding of the distribution and transmission of HPAI H5N1 in mainland China and could be used to inform targeted surveillance and control efforts in both human and poultry populations to reduce the risk of future infections.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
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    ABSTRACT: The neglected tropical disease (NTD) visceral leishmaniasis (VL) has been targeted by the WHO for elimination as a public health problem on the Indian subcontinent by 2017 or earlier. To date there is a surprising scarcity of mathematical models capable of capturing VL disease dynamics, which are widely considered central to planning and assessing the efficacy of interventions. The few models that have been developed are examined, highlighting the necessity for better data to parameterise and fit these and future models. In particular, the characterisation and infectiousness of the different disease stages will be crucial to elimination. Modelling can then assist in establishing whether, when, and how the WHO VL elimination targets can be met. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · Trends in Parasitology
  • Wilma A Stolk · Chris Stone · Sake J de Vlas
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    ABSTRACT: Mathematical modelling provides a useful tool for policy making and planning in lymphatic filariasis control programmes, by providing trend forecasts based on sound scientific knowledge and principles. This is now especially true, in view of the ambitious target to eliminate lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem globally by the year 2020 and the short remaining timeline to achieve this. To meet this target, elimination programmes need to be accelerated, requiring further optimization of strategies and tailoring to local circumstances. Insights from epidemiological transmission models provide a useful basis. Two general models of lymphatic filariasis transmission and control are nowadays in use to support decision-making, namely a population-based deterministic model (EPIFIL) and an individual-based stochastic model (LYMFASIM). Model predictions confirm that lymphatic filariasis transmission can be interrupted by annual mass drug administration (MDA), but this may need to be continued much longer than the initially suggested 4-6 years in areas with high transmission intensity or poor treatment coverage. However, the models have not been validated against longitudinal data describing the impact of MDA programmes. Some critical issues remain to be incorporated in one or both of the models to make predictions on elimination more realistic, including the possible occurrence of systematic noncompliance, the risk of emerging parasite resistance to anthelmintic drugs, and spatial heterogeneities. Rapid advances are needed to maximize the utility of models in decision-making for the ongoing ambitious lymphatic filariasis elimination programmes. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Advances in Parasitology
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    ABSTRACT: Leprosy or Hansen's disease is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae. The annual number of new leprosy cases registered worldwide has remained stable over the past years at over 200,000. Early case finding and multidrug therapy have not been able interrupt transmission completely. Elimination requires innovation in control and sustained commitment. Mathematical models can be used to predict the course of leprosy incidence and the effect of intervention strategies. Two compartmental models and one individual-based model have been described in the literature. Both compartmental models investigate the course of leprosy in populations and the long-term impact of control strategies. The individual-based model focusses on transmission within households and the impact of case finding among contacts of new leprosy patients. Major improvement of these models should result from a better understanding of individual differences in exposure to infection and developing leprosy after exposure. Most relevant are contact heterogeneity, heterogeneity in susceptibility and spatial heterogeneity. Furthermore, the existing models have only been applied to a limited number of countries. Parameterization of the models for other areas, in particular those with high incidence, is essential to support current initiatives for the global elimination of leprosy. Many challenges remain in understanding and dealing with leprosy. The support of mathematical models for understanding leprosy epidemiology and supporting policy decision making remains vital. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Advances in Parasitology

Publication Stats

5k Citations
749.29 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2008-2015
    • Erasmus MC
      Rotterdam, South Holland, Netherlands
  • 1992-2015
    • Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam
      • Department of Public Health (MGZ)
      Rotterdam, South Holland, Netherlands
  • 2013
    • China Scholarship Council
      Peping, Beijing, China
  • 2011
    • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 2009
    • Imperial College London
      • Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 1999
    • Shanghai University
      Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, China
  • 1995-1997
    • Leiden University
      Leyden, South Holland, Netherlands