Veerle Vanlerberghe

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research expertise

My research is focused on the characterization and control of re-emerging infectious diseases, mainly in Latin-America and Africa. My expertise includes:

  • Cluster randomized controlled trials to evaluate novel dengue vector control tools and implementation strategies, and, on the identification of determinants of acceptance, use and uptake of dengue and visceral leishmaniasis control tools. I conducted field epidemiological studies within two ITM coordinated INCO-FP6 (European Union funding) projects in India, Nepal, Thailand and Venezuela.
  • Epidemiological investigation on causes of acute undifferentiated fevers, with a focus on arboviroses transmitted by the Aedes mosquitoes, on identifying areas at high risk for arbovirus (dengue, zika, chikungunya, rift valley-fever) transmission and design of a pro-active control strategy based on this temporo-spatial heterogeneity of transmission, and on the evaluation of human mobility as a driver of arbovirus transmission. Studies located in Cuba and Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Outbreak Research which ensues from my experience  as an MD with Doctors without Borders in the beginning of my career and my focus on arboviruses at ITM.  I was a scientific expert in the European Medical Corpse team to the Yellow Fever outbreak in Angola in 2016. Between 2017 and 2019, I have been working with ITM’s Outbreak Research Team to develop its research agenda and to guide the research activities on arbovirosis, cholera and malaria. In 2020 and 2021, focus included COVID-19 seroprevalence and collateral effects studies in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Research Assignments

1. Current

- Research on arbovirosis epidemiology and prevention:
o Rift Valley fever research: acute fever survey, human/animal survey in farms of endemic area, eastern Congo - in a network with Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya (CREID-ECA, NIH funding)
o Identification of dengue transmission hotspots and evaluation of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of an implementation strategy targeting these transmission hotspots, research identified and initiated by the "DENTARGET" network in collaboration with researchers and control program managers from Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Cuba (Funding: development cooperation DGD-Cuba). Ongoing Research.
o Case-control study: The role of human mobility in relation to pressure-visited places in the spatio-temporal dimension of vectorial arbovirus transmission? (FWO Credit to Navigators, development cooperation DGD-Cuba). Ongoing Research
o Synergy project with the University of Antwerp on "Knowledge transfer of new techniques for defining factors influencing the development of dengue/Zika infections in Cuba" (funding: VLIR-UOS)-ongoing

°Implementation and evaluation of a multiplex real-time RT-PCR for integrated molecular pathogen testing of Trypanosoma brucei gambiense and Arboviruses (FA4-DRC) – ongoing

o Member of the "Aedes Invasive Moquitoes (AIM) COST ACTION", CA17108, on improved risk assessments for reliable targeting and planning of control actions in Europe (Funding: EU)

- Outbreak investigation:
o COVID 19: seroprevalence survey health workers and their families, DRCongo: PRESTACOV: SARS-CoV2 Sero-prevalence and sero-conversion study of health care workers and their households, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Funding: GIZ, ENABEL, FA4/CREDO)
o COVID-19: hotspot mapping, Cuba
o Measles: hotspot mapping, Kikwit, DRCongo

2. Completed research (dengue, leishmania, malaria)

- Epidemiological study: evaluation of the importance of dengue and chikungunya in patients with acute fever in Kinshasa, DRC (Funding: development cooperation DGD--DRC). - Entomological surveillance of Aedes vectors, Kinshasa, DRC (Funding: development cooperation DGD-DRC).

-  Malaria study – evaluation of effect of vector control interventions Burundi – MSF project, 

-  CODAMSE: Collateral damage and consequences of covid-19 on other health problems (ITM funding)

DYNACOV: Transmission dynamics of COVID-19 in a rural setting of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Departmental PPP funding, FA4-DRC)
- Pilot testing of an active sentinel surveillance dengue and acute fever eastern Nepal (Funding: development cooperation DGD-Nepal).
- Descriptive epidemiological and case-control study cholera outbreak Kinshasa- 2018 (Funding: EWI-Outbreak Research Team).
- Descriptive epidemiological study Chikungunya outbreak 2019 Kinshasa (Funding: EWI-ORT + development cooperation DGD-DRC)
- Evaluation of the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and acceptability of curtains treated with long-lasting insecticide and indoor residual insecticide spraying compared to routine dengue control activities. Cluster randomized controlled trial was established in Guantanamo (curtains only) and a three-arm trial in Santiago, follow-up over a 2-year period (Funding: development cooperation DGD-Cuba).
- Evaluation of the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and sustainability of a participatory approach to 'environmental management' activities to prevent and control dengue. Quasi-experimental studies and a cluster randomized controlled trial were designed in different locations in Cuba and followed up over two to five years (Funding: development cooperation DGD-Cuba).
- Evaluation of the efficacy, distribution acceptance, long-term use and cost-effectiveness of curtains and water tank covers treated with a long-lasting insecticide for dengue control. Cluster randomized trials took place in Thailand and Venezuela (Funding: INCO-FP6 EU project).
- Evaluation of the effectiveness and acceptability of bed nets treated with long lasting insecticide to control Leishmania infection. The cluster randomized controlled trial took place in Nepalese and Indian districts endemic for leishmaniasis (Funding: INCO-FP6 EU project).
- Fieldwork within the study: Evaluation of chloroquine, sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine and amodiaquine for the treatment of uncomplicated P Falciparum malaria in Chad (MSF project).

Teaching expertise

1. Intitute of Tropical Medicine (ITM), ANTWERP, BELGIUM: Master of Public Health (MPH), orientations ‘Disease Control’ and  ‘Health systems management and policy’  (English as teaching languages)

  • Fileholder Short Course 'Data for Action': since academic year 2021-2022 (3 weeks)
  • Fileholder Course component 3 'Health problems and programs': since academic year 2018-2019 (3 weeks)
  • Student guidance for master thesis: since academic year 2003-04 until today (1 à 2 students/year)

  • Theory and exercises basic epidemiology and statistics: since academic year 2004-05 until today (40 hrs/ year)

  • Data analysis: student guidance

  • Theory and exercises Quantitative researchmethods; since academic year 2006-07 until today (20 hrs/year)

  • Leishmania control: academic year 2004-05 until 2007-08 (5 hrs/year)

  • Community participation in dengue control: since academic year 2005-06 until 2014-15 (3 hrs/year)

  • Member MPH steering committee: 2010 until today

 2. ITM, ANTWERP, BELGIUM: Postgraduate course ‘Tropical Medicine and International Health’ (English and French as teaching languages)

  • Student guidance health problem analysis (vertical analysis) related to dengue: since academic year 2005-06 until 2017-18 (6 hrs/year)
  • Emergency-module: in academic year 2004-05 (10 hrs)

  • Dengue: Epidemiology and control programmes: since academic year 2016-17 until today (4 hrs/year)


3. FACULTY OF BIOSCIENCE ENGINEERING, UNIVERSITY  OF GHENT, BELGIUM : Master of Science nutrition and rural development

  • PUBLIC HEALTH and HEALTHSYSTEMS (part of module ‘nutrition interventions’): since academic year 2006-07 until today (24 hrs/ year)



  • LIVERPOOL, UK: Risk and epidemiological measurements: 2006 (4 hrs)

  • ANTWERP : Groupwork guidance ‘design of an epidemiological study’: 2010 (6 hrs)



  • CHALLENGES IN THE IMPLEMENTATION AND SCALING UP OF COMMUNITY BASED AEDES CONTROL STRATEGIES (theoretical and practical sessions): august 2007,  2009,  2011,  2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019  (about 10 hrs/course)


6. DENGUE FEVER TRAINING, United Nations Support Office for African Union Mission Somalia, Nairobi, KENYA

  • General Dengue epidemiology, burden of disease, transmission, its vector and prevention methods; surveillance and outbreak preparedness; 6-9 May 2014; 19-22 January 2016 

Services expertise

  • Member of the General Council ITM as representative of 'Assisting scientific and medical personel' (AAP-WP-MP) 2018-today
  • Member of the Academic Council ITM, 2018-today
  • Member of Academic commission on Research, ITM, 2012-16

  • Member of Academic commission on development cooperation, ITM, 2017-today
  • Member of Departmental Council (Public Health department) as representative for post-doc assistants, since October 2013 until 2019

  • Doctors without Borders (MSF): Member Board of directors, 2004-2007

  • Advice to the Belgian Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP) on dengue vaccine files, 2013-2014; 2015; 2016
  • Mission European Medical Corpse, May 2016, Yellow Fever Outbreak Angola
  • Member of steering committee ITM Outbreak research Team, 2018-2019

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Medical Science, Doctor, Dengue vector control: the effectiveness of community based environmental management and insecticide treated materials, Ghent University

… → 2011

Award Date: 29-Nov-2011

Master of Science in Disease Control, Master of Science, Institute of Tropical Medicine


Award Date: 31-Aug-2001

Tropical Medicine, Course Diplome, Institute of Tropical Medicine


Award Date: 31-Mar-1994

Medicine, MD, Ghent University


Award Date: 30-Jul-1993

External positions

Tchad, Country/Medical coordinator, Médecins Sans Frontières


Nicaragua, project coordinator, Médecins Sans Frontières


Angola, clinicial/hospital management, MSF The Netherlands


Mozambique, clinician/preventive medicine, Médecins Sans Frontières



  • B680-public-health
  • B680-epidemiology
  • B780-tropical-medicine
  • B720-medical-training


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