Molecular epidemiology as a tool to track the spread of infectious diseases in the community
12 / 2002 - 06 / 2009
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO)
New genetic typing methods of microorganisms have greatly enhanced our understanding of the epidemiology of infectious diseases. Molecular epidemiology can be used to identify the source of an outbreak or to track in detail the spread of infections. Up to now many molecular epidemiological studies are done by (micro)biologists with limited involvement of epidemiologists. The studies are then hampered by insufficient patient information and by selection bias e.g. by using samples available in the laboratory. Over the last years we have performed a number of studies in which we combined the highly specific typing techniques with good epidemiological information obtained from patients with community acquired infections. At the Municipal Health Service in Amsterdam we have unique opportunities to perform such multidisciplinary research. We are able to combine the necessary laboratory expertise with a epidemiology unit and a public health infrastructure with good relations with all health care levels in Amsterdam and with groups at high risk for certain infectious diseases. The aim of our present grant proposal is to track the spread of community acquired infections in Amsterdam and its surroundings using molecular biological typing techniques and to evaluate the impact of enhanced intervention measures on the spread of these diseases. In the coming 5 years we will concentrate on two sexually transmitted infections, gonorrhea and syphilis and on viral hepatitis A, B and C.