ECDC: On Air
By European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
Hear from our experts on a wide range of topics as they discuss the things that matter, and give you a crash course in Epidemiology 101.
ECDC: On AirDec 01, 2023
Episode 44 - Anastasia Pharris - World AIDS Day 2023
Every year World AIDS Day is marked on the 1st of December. Beginning in 1988 as the first-ever international day for global health, it is now in its 35th year.
We sat down with Anastasia Pharris, Principal expert in Communicable Diseases, to discuss the latest joint ECDC-WHO Europe HIV/AIDS surveillance in Europe report to take stock of where Europe stands with the latest developments, challenges, and achievements.
As a part of World AIDS Day, ECDC will host a digital event on HIV: Towards zero stigma on the 6th of December 2023. The event is open to the public and will focus on the recent insights on HIV stigma in Europe, how it is perceived in different contexts, and examples of good practices to ensure that the goal of zero stigma is achieved.
You can find more information on the surveillance report here.
Episode 43 - Gianfranco Spiteri - Artificial (Epidemic) Intelligence
Is the artificial intelligence going to take our jobs? Or will it change the daily work of the ECDC experts looking for epidemic signals? Perhaps it already does?
In this episode we sit down for a chat with Gianfranco Spiteri - ECDC's Group Leader in the Epidemic Intelligence team to take a look at the recent AI developments and what the new tools can bring to his daily work.
Find more information about ECDC's work on our portal here: ecdc.europa.eu
Episode 42 - Joaquin Baruch - Epidemiology in the Field
Joaquin Baruch who was part of the ECDC Fellowship Programme for epidemiologists - EPIET - talks to us about his experiences as a fellow in Malta, as well as doing field work in places such as Western Sahara, Algeria and Mozambique.
This episode was recorded during ESCAIDE 2022, and is aired to mark the World Field Epidemiology Day on 7 September. If you are interested in applying for the ECDC fellowship programmes for epidemiologists and microbiologists, please click here.
Be sure to check out the Disease Detectives - an ECDC: on Air episode featuring an interview with ECDC’s Head of Fellowship Programme Adam Roth - here - to learn more about the opportunity.
You can also see the Postcards from the Field (in a video format) where fellows share their experiences of field work here.
Episode 41 - Gaetano Marrone - Statistically Speaking
In this episode, we dig a little deeper into the fascinating world of biostatistics.
Our guide is Gaetano Marrone - an ECDC expert in the field of statistics and its use in public health.
Listen in to learn more!
Episode 40 - Vanja Nikolac Markic, Francois-Xavier Lamy & Jenny Mohseni Skoglund - SOHO
Have you ever wondered how substances of human origin (SoHo) - blood, tissues, cells, organs - can be used in medical therapies?
In this episode, ECDCs SoHo Team talks about the lifesaving medical benefits that SoHos can bring and the measures to ensure that they are used safely.
The team also gives an overview of the legislation and regulation at EU-level as well as the importance of cross-border co-operation.
To learn more about the substances of human origin and the role ECDC plays in keeping them safe click here. For general information about ECDC, please visit ecdc.europa.eu, or follow us on social media.
Episode 39 - Georgios Theocharopoulos - ECDC4AfricaCDC
On this episode we are speaking with Georgios Theocharopoulos, Scientific Officer for Emergency Preparedness and Response, to discuss ECDC4AfricaCDC, a four-year capacity- and partnership-building project between ECDC and Africa CDC. You can find more information on the ECDC4AfricaCDC project here.
Episode 38 - Orla Condell - A Health Emergency Task Force
With the pandemic lessons in mind, steps are taken for Europe to be stronger and better prepared to tackle current and emerging threats of infectious diseases.
ECDC’s new reinforced mandate gives the agency a stronger role to support the EU Member States with surveillance, joint preparedness and response planning and issue stronger guidance during emergencies.
Orla Condell, an Emergency Preparedness and Response expert from ECDC, shares in this episode her insights on the process of building an EU Health Task Force to mobilise and deploy outbreak assistance teams and to strengthen preparedness capacities.
For more on the EU Health Task Force visit the dedicated page here.
Episode 37 - Diamantis Plachouras - All (Clean) Hands on Deck
It's 5 May and we mark today the World Hand Hygiene Day.
Hand hygiene or simply - hand washing is one of the simplest, yet most important and effective measure to lower the chances of catching or spreading infectious diseases in public spaces and in healthcare settings!
We asked ECDC's expert in Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections - Diamantis Plachouras to tell us a bit more about the matter - so wash your hands, put your headphones or speakers on, and listen in!
For more on hand hygiene, visit our World #HandHygieneDay dedicated page here.
Episode 36 - Bruno Ciancio - End of the COVID-19 pandemic?
It is April 2023 and more than three years have passed since the first cases of COVID-19 were recorded.
In this episode we ask Bruno Ciancio, ECDC's Head of Surveillance, to give an overview of the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic until now, explain the current state of the pandemic, and provide a glimpse at how it may evolve in the future.
For all ECDC information on COVID-19 click here.
Episode 35 - Piotr Kramarz - The Solidarity of Vaccination
European Immunization Week (EIW) is marked across Europe every year in the final week of April. It aims to raise awareness of the importance of immunisation for the general health and well-being of the European and wider population.
To mark the start of EIW, we have invited the ECDC's Deputy Chief Scientist - Piotr Kramarz to talk about the importance of vaccination, the hurdles and current issues we need to overcome.
You can find ECDC's information on vaccines here.
Episode 34 - Senia Rosales-Klintz - Yes! We Can End TB!
Today, 24th March is World Tuberculosis Day, so there isn't a better time to talk about TB and the different ways to fight it. Our expert - Senia Rosales-Klintz tells us that this indeed is the plan, and with a deadline for 2030. Can it be done?
If you would like to read the latest news on TB and see the details of the World TB Day campaign, visit our website here.
Episode 33 - Andrea Ammon - A Strengthened ECDC Mandate
In this episode we catch up with ECDC's Director Andrea Ammon, who gives us the lowdown on the agency's new extended mandate and the EU regulation on serious cross-border threats to health.
Andrea Ammon explains how this will help to better protect European citizens from health threats through improved surveillance, smoother international cooperation, and strengthened preparedness and prevention.
Episode 32 - Cornelia Adlhoch - Avian Flu: Spilling Over?
On this episode we are speaking with Cornelia Adlhoch again, and discussing the avian influenza outbreak, its spread to other animals, and whether we should worry about it spreading further.
If you would like to read more about the latest report about the ongoing avian influenza outbreaks in birds, you can find it here.
You can also hear Cornelia's previous episode on Avian flu here.
Episode 31 - Erik Alm - New SARS-CoV-2 Mutations – Should We Worry?
In this episode we learn about virus mutations by speaking to Erik Alm, ECDC Principal Expert on Applied Molecular Biology.
Erik talks about the reasons why viruses mutate, whether new variants are generally more transmissible and cause more severe disease, and how worried we should be about new SARS-CoV-2 mutations.
Follow us on social media - see where and how.
Episode 30 - Joana Gomes Dias - The Answers in Numbers
How much information can we get from raw health data? Why are statistics so important for our collective health?
We spoke with Joana Gomes Dias, ECDC's expert in Biostatistics, about the important role data can play. In one example, Joana explains the direct impact of COVID-19 patients' health data on state-adapted vaccination policies.
Episode 29 - Barbara Albiger - The Endangered Science
This time we sit down with Barbara Albiger - ECDC expert specialising in scientific processes, who explains the steps of preparing scientific recommendations and advice.
We go through the nitty-gritty of the data and information collection, verification and expert double-checks that precede the publication of final measures to be taken. We also touch base on the dangers science has been confronted with during the last three years of the pandemic.
You can read more about the ECDC's work in this field on our website here.
Episode 28 - Liselotte Diaz-Högberg - The Emptying Medicine Cabinet
In this episode we catch up with Liselotte Diaz-Högberg, one of ECDC’s experts on antimicrobial resistance.
Liselotte explains why it’s so important that we are prudent with the use of antibiotics so that they remain effective.
She also tells us more about the latest data on deaths, resistance levels and antibiotic consumption.
You can find all of the most recent datasets, information and the communication campaign on the European Antibiotic Awareness Day pages here.
Episode 27 - Laura Espinosa - There's Something in the Baltic Sea
Today we are speaking with Laura Espinosa again, but this time about vibrio in the Baltic sea.
While vibrio may not be so common, indeed, you may be entirely unfamiliar with it, there has been an increased observance of it in the summer months. Laura explains what ECDC does to keep an eye on this particular and peculiar bacteria.
You can find find the Vibrio Map Viewer here.
Episode 26 - Cornelia Adlhoch - Preparing For the Flu Season
It is time to talk about the seasonal flu.
And for that, we invited our ECDC influenza expert - Cornelia Adlhoch to talk about what we can expect from the upcoming flu season, whether we need to fear a dual #COVID19/influenza pandemic and how to best protect oneself.
Check our 2022 seasonal #FluAwareness campaign here: https://bit.ly/FluAwareness2022
Want to learn more about #influenza? Visit our dedicated pages here: https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/seasonal-influenza
Episode 25 - Catalin Bercaru & Niklas Bergstrand - Ukraine: Emergency Response & Communication
This week, we sat down with Catalin Bercaru and Niklas Bergstrand to talk about their recent missions to Poland and Romania as part of the World Health Organization's Ukraine Emergency Response.
Communication is a key part of ECDC's response to ongoing health emergencies, and so Catalin and Niklas give us an insight into what is involved and how the theoretical can become practical.
If you would like to know more about ECDC's work supporting countries neighbouring Ukraine, you can find that here.
Episode 24 - Svetla Tsolova - How Do We Prepare Communities?
This week we sit down with ECDC expert in community preparedness, Svetla Tsolova, to talk about how local communities can help in infectious disease prevention and control.
Is it difficult to train the communities in emergency preparedness? Are they an important part of the machine that needs constant oiling? Svetla responds to our questions and goes deeper into the topic, presenting some of the more interesting cases that have occurred in Europe recently.
If you want to know more about preparedness, click here.
We have covered more general aspects of preparedness in a previous episode. If you want to give it a listen, click here.
You can find more information about ECDC at ecdc.europa.eu, or follow us on social media for the latest news.
Episode 23 - Paul Riley - Bioterrorism & biosecurity: how to make sure we stay safe?
On today's episode, we speak with Paul Riley - ECDC's expert on preparedness, specialising in biosecurity and biosafety.
Paul points out the difference between the two terms, recalls some of the scariest moments of recent history of bioterrorist attacks and navigates us through the various ways we are protected from biological threats on all levels.
Episode 22 - Agoritsa Baka - What Do You Know About Monkeypox?
Agoritsa Baka joins us once again to discuss the ongoing monkeypox outbreak that has seen large numbers of cases in Europe. Agoritsa explains what monkeypox is, where it comes from, and what you can do to keep safe.
You can find all of ECDC's resources on monkeypox here.
Episode 21 - Erika Duffell - An Unsolved Hepatitis Mystery
On today's episode, Principal Expert in Hepatitis, Erika Duffell, gives us a bit of background on what hepatitis is, and discusses the most up to date information on the ongoing hepatitis outbreak affecting children.
You can find the latest situation updates on the ongoing hepatitis outbreak here, and more information on hepatitis in general here. For more news and information please visit ecdc.europa.eu or follow us on social media.
Episode 20 - Lara Payne-Hallström - Risk in the Mist
You can find out more about Legionnaires’ disease here.
For more news and information please visit ecdc.europa.eu or follow us on social media.
Episode 19 - Johanna Takkinen - Signs of Serious Salmonella
Today ECDC has a special episode on the recent salmonella outbreak linked to chocolate products in Europe. Principle Expert in Food and Waterborne Diseases, Johanna Takkinen, speaks to us about what salmonella is, where it comes from, how it can spread, and what symptoms to look for.
You can find additional information from the European Food Safety Authority.
Episode 18 - Piotr Kramarz - Aiding Ukrainian Refugees in Poland
On today's episode, we speak with Dr Piotr Kramarz as he discusses his recent field mission to Poland, and working with the Polish health authorities to assist the large numbers of Ukrainian refugees.
Episode 17 - Rob van Hest - Tuberculosis Capture-Recapture for Dummies
In recognition of World Tuberculosis day on March 24th, we will be hearing from Rob van Hest, Public Health TB Control Physician and Epidemiologist in the Regional Public Health Service of Groningen, Netherlands. Rob has extensive experience in TB screening and treatment, especially among urban risk groups such as the homeless and high-risk drug users, as well as asylum seekers. You will hear Rob discussing capture/recapture analysis, a method of measuring the impact of TB, its spread and control, and how to combat under-reporting.
This recording was made before the covid-19 pandemic began.
You can find more information about TB here.
For more information about ECDC, please visit ecdc.europa.eu, or follow us on Social Media.
Dr Rob van Hest's PhD on Capture-recapture methods in surveillance of tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.
Dr. Rob van Hest (MD, MSc, PhD) works as a Public Health TB Control Physician and Epidemiologist in the Regional Public Health Service of Groningen. He has extensive experience in TB screening and treatment. In 2007 he completed a PhD thesis on the use of capture-recapture techniques for the surveillance of TB and other infectious diseases.
Episode 16 - Laura Espinosa - Tweet-Based Epidemiology
On today's episode, we speak with Laura Espinosa, Epidemic Intelligence Expert at ECDC, about Epitweetr. This tool allows users to automatically monitor trends of tweets with the aim of detecting public health threats early. It was designed to support public health experts with the early detection of threats from infectious diseases but can be extended to all hazards and other fields of study by modifying the topics and keywords.
Episode 15 - Cornelia Adlhoch - Avian Flu and the Cathedral of Silence
Learn more about avian flu on ECDC pages here too: www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/avian-influenza
Episode 14 - René Niehus - Mathematical Super Models
In this episode, we are joined by René Niehus, Expert in Mathematical Modelling, in order to find out more about how ECDC uses models in public health. We get to understand the different kinds of data that can go into models, and how continually analysing new data can build better models in the future.
You can find more information on the COVID-19 Forecasting Hub here.
Episode 13 - Julien Beauté - Disease Data Hub
On today's episode, we sit down with Julien Beauté, Expert in General Surveillance. We discuss ECDC's surveillance activities and how the surveillance process works from collection to output for diseases such as measles, HIV, and of course more recently COVID-19.
To find out more about ECDC's surveillance data, please click here.
Episode 12 - Jordi Borrell Pique - 27 Cases of Pneumonia
The 31st of December 2019 began as normal for Jordi Borrell Pique, the Epidemic Intelligence Officer on duty for ECDC. Soon, media reports began to arrive of patients showing signs of a ‘pneumonia of unknown etiology’ linked to a wet market in Wuhan. For this episode, we sit down with Jordi to recount those early days of COVID-19 at ECDC and remember how quickly things changed. For more information about COVID-19 and ECDC, please visit us at ecdc.europa.eu or follow us on social media.
Episode 11 - Teymur Noori - World AIDS Day - Achieving Zero Deaths in Europe
In today's episode we speak with Teymur Noori, HIV/AIDS expert at ECDC. Teymur explains what the HIV/AIDS situation looks like in Europe, which populations and regions are most affected, and what goals that have been set, and how to reach them.
Find out more via ecdc.europa.eu/en/hiv-infection-and-aids
Episode 10 - Olivier Briet - Mosquito-borne Diseases and Their Spread in Europe
As always, you can find more information on this topic on our website: ecdc.europa.eu
Episode 9 - Pasi Penttinen - Everything You Wanted to Know About the Flu (But Didn't Ask)
On this episode, we speak with Pasi Penttinen, ECDC expert on coronavirus and influenza. Pasi discusses the reasons why there have been hardly any cases of flu recently, what to expect from the upcoming flu season, and whether the COVID-19 pandemic is really ‘just like a bad flu season’.
“In the worst years, we have more than 200,000 people dying in Europe as a result of influenza. Is this really something we should accept as a society?”
Episode 8 - Andrea Ammon - Community Engagement for Health Emergencies
This week we once again sat down with Director Dr Andrea Ammon to discuss ECDC’s appearance at the European Health Forum Gastein, and in particular ECDC’s session on community engagement for health emergencies.
Excerpts from the session are included in this episode; information on the speakers can be found here.
ECDC’s work on community engagement can be found here.
More information on the European Health Forum Gastein is available here.
Episode 7 - Tarik Derrough - Bringing Vaccination Experts Together
In this episode, we sit down with Tarik Derrough - Expert in vaccine-preventable diseases - to talk about ECDC's role in coordinating disease and laboratory networks. These networks bring together experts to collaborate on various topics. We focus one type of network in particular - National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups or NITAGs - which provide technical resources, supply guidance, and make recommendations to national policymakers.
"People are now able to work together, to learn from one another, and that can only serve a better decision making process."
For more information on the disease and laboratory networks in Europe, please visit the page on partnerships and networks on ecdc.europa.eu.
Episode 6 - Adam Roth - The Disease Detectives
September 7th is World Field Epidemiology Day so we sat down with Adam Roth, Head of Fellowship Programmes at ECDC to talk about what field epidemiology is, and about the fellowship pathways, EPIET and EUPHEM, that ECDC offers.
"This is intervention epidemiology, it should make a difference."
More information on TEPHINET is available here.
Episode 5 - John Kinsman - Vaccine Hesitancy and Misinformation
In this episode, we speak with John Kinsman, who is an expert in behavioural change at ECDC. John talks about vaccine hesitancy, the spread of health misinformation and what public health institutions can do to counter misinformation. For more information on vaccines, please visit the European Vaccine Information Portal.
“Vaccine hesitancy isn’t always the result of misinformation, there are also a lot of other explanations.”
Episode 4 - Piotr Kramarz - Giving the Immune System a Boost
On this episode, we discuss the importance of vaccines, a little bit about their history, the role ECDC plays when it comes to vaccines monitoring and scheduling in Europe and how vaccines help fight not only COVID-19, but also other diseases with Dr Piotr Kramarz - Deputy Chief Scientist at ECDC.
"Vaccination is like a self-defense class for our bodies."
For more information on vaccine schedules in Europe, please visit vaccine-schedule.ecdc.europa.eu
Episode 3 - Agoritsa Baka - How Prepared Can We Be?
For this episode, we look into how well prepared can we be for public health threats with Dr Agoritsa Baka - public health preparedness expert at ECDC.
"You need to be able to talk and engage with your community"
Episode 2 - Thomas Mollet - Looking for Signals
For the second episode, we look at epidemiological signals with Dr Thomas Mollet - group lead for the ECDC Epidemic Intelligence team, and how important these signals can be in detecting outbreaks.
"We are basically hunters of information.”
Episode 1 - Andrea Ammon - The Director's Insights
To begin this audio series, we chat with the ECDC Director, Dr Andrea Ammon on ECDC's past, present and future and what the current pandemic can bring into the European overview of infectious diseases.
"Like building an aeroplane while you're flying."