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BACKGROUND Mathematical modelling of infectious diseases transmitted by the respiratory or close-contact route (e.g., pandemic influenza) is increasingly being used to determine the impact of possible interventions. Although mixing patterns are known to be crucial determinants for model outcome, researchers often rely on a priori contact assumptions with(More)
In 2003, an internet-based monitoring system of influenza-like illness (ILI), the Great Influenza Survey (GIS), was initiated in Belgium. For the Flemish part of Belgium, we investigate the representativeness of the GIS population and assess the validity of the survey in terms of ILI incidence during eight influenza seasons (from 2003 through 2011). The(More)
OBJECTIVE To investigate the duration of the presence of maternal antibodies to measles in infants. DESIGN Prospective study (May 2006 to November 2008). SETTING Five hospitals in the Province of Antwerp, Belgium. PARTICIPANTS Of 221 pregnant women recruited, 207 healthy woman-infant pairs were included-divided into a vaccinated group (n=87) and(More)
BACKGROUND Mathematical modelling of infectious disease is increasingly used to help guide public health policy. As directly transmitted infections, such as influenza and tuberculosis, require contact between individuals, knowledge about contact patterns is a necessary pre-requisite of accurate model predictions. Of particular interest is the potential(More)
BACKGROUND An altered gut microbiota composition has recently been linked to obesity. The principal aim of this study is to investigate and compare the gut microbiota composition in obese and lean children. Secondly, associations between analysed gut bacterial species, dietary compounds, energy intake and biochemical blood parameters are evaluated. (More)
BACKGROUND The spread of infectious diseases from person to person is determined by the frequency and nature of contacts between infected and susceptible members of the population. Although there is a long history of using mathematical models to understand these transmission dynamics, there are still remarkably little empirical data on contact behaviors(More)
Models for incomplete longitudinal data under missingness not at random have gained some popularity. At the same time, cautionary remarks have been issued regarding their sensitivity to often unverifiable modeling assumptions. Consequently, there is evidence for a shift towards using ignorablemethodology, supplementedwith sensitivity analyses to explore the(More)
Achieving high vaccination coverage is a necessary, but not a sufficient indicator of the quality of a vaccination programme, in terms of control and prevention of childhood infectious diseases. For optimal protection of infants, timeliness of vaccination is increasingly recognized as another important target. The aim of this study was to assess the(More)
In dynamic models of infectious disease transmission, typically various mixing patterns are imposed on the so-called Who-Acquires-Infection-From-Whom matrix (WAIFW). These imposed mixing patterns are based on prior knowledge of agerelated social mixing behavior rather than observations. Alternatively, one can assume that transmission rates for infections(More)
Despite the fact that the 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza strain was less severe than had been feared, both seasonal epidemics of influenza-like-illness and future influenza pandemics have the potential to place a serious burden on health services. The closure of schools has been postulated as a means of reducing transmission between children and hence(More)