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Chiara de Bellegarde


Track 6: Travelers as sentinel and source of arboviruses


Leo Visser (LUMC)

Primary Supervisor

Leo Visser (LUMC)


Marion Koopmans (EMC)


Leiden University Medical Centre


Description PhD project

I consider myself a positive person, always willing to learn and up for new experiences. I am very fond of animals and nature, and my big passions are travelling and photography.

Through the MSc in One Health (Infectious Diseases), I had the chance to enrich my knowledge of vector-borne diseases, and I carried out my final research project on potential arbovirus mosquito vectors in London. This project, together with the experience within the virology department at the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale in Brescia (Italy), also gave me the possibility of learning about the main diagnostic techniques and routine molecular tools. For more than three years, I have worked within the Surveillance and Response Support Unit at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in Sweden, supporting the epidemic intelligence team and the disease programmes. During this period, one of my core responsibilities was the detection, monitoring, and assessment of potential health threats, including vector-borne diseases.

Through the work I carried out in the context of the Zika virus epidemic, I had the opportunity to understand the important role of travellers as a source of information to detect arboviral circulation and to assess the magnitude of outbreaks and the risk of geographical spread thus I applied for this PhD. During this project, therefore, I would like to look into arbovirus infections in returning travellers in order to better assess the risk of importation and allow early detection of infections.