Eliminating worm infectionsin sub-saharan africa and enabling the who's road map 2021-2030

Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam

The Erasmus MC is a University Medical Center located in the centre of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. We are committed to achieving a healthy population and pursuing excellence in healthcare through research and teaching. Our vision is to be recognized as a leading innovator in healthcare. The Department Medical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (MMID) is an international center of excellence for multidisciplinary, translational and clinical research of microbial infections from molecular to population level. By combining the complementary areas of expertise within our department, we aim to provide solutions for today’s problems in infectious diseases, such as combatting emerging antimicrobial resistance, as well as for tomorrow's challenges caused by microbial pathogens.

The Laboratory for Parasitology is a national expertise center for parasitology that has broad expertise in clinical parasitology in combination with translational parasitological research from bench to bedside. The translational research on parasitic infections in the Erasmus MC is focused on host-parasite interactions in order to (1) obtain fundamental knowledge on parasites and disease pathogenesis in naïve hosts that can be applied to improve the treatment of patients and (2) to improve diagnostic methods to detect parasitic infections, not only in tropical low-income countries but also in non-endemic high-income countries, such as the Netherlands. In addition, the Laboratory for Parasitology is the coordinating center for all Dutch external quality assessment (EQA) schemes to diagnose parasitic diseases (as a part of the Foundation for Quality Assessment in Medical Laboratory Diagnostics, SKML). It is leading in EQA innovation and provides several unique EQA schemes for the detection of parasites (e.g., detection of helminths in stool and Acanthamoeba by DNA amplification methods). These schemes are also unique as their distributed specimens comprise real parasites in true patient material and because laboratories are participating from all over the world, including countries in sub-Sahara Africa.

Role within eWHORM

Since the Laboratory for Parasitology of the Erasmus MC has great expertise in both training and external quality assessment schemes for methods to detect parasitic infections, its role in eWHORM is focused on the preparation of a virtual training tool for microscopic detection of blood and intestinal parasites. This will include virtual microscopy and virtual assessment to ensure that technicians acquire and regularly confirm their skills. It will allow longitudinal assessment of individual users over time, which can be used to i) notify and guide users to refresh training in case too many or serious incorrect results are reported, ii) use aggregated and anonymized data to examine the improvement of examination skills of users, and iii) refine the training material.

The consortium aims to develop an easy-to-use web-based, open-source training and self-assessment tool for microscopic examinations for the detection of parasites. Thereby this project can sustainably increase the quality of microscopic examinations for the detection of parasites in low- and middle-income countries. This will increase the reliability of laboratory results, which is important not only for patients but also for policy-makers that use the aggregated laboratory results to refine the control programs for infectious diseases.

Logo of Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam

Main contacts

Photo of Dr. Jaap J. van Hellemond
Dr. Jaap J. van Hellemond
Associate professor clinical parasitology (principle investigator)
Photo of Mr. Rob Koelewijn
Mr. Rob Koelewijn
Photo of Dr. Liljana Georgievska
Dr. Liljana Georgievska

We participate in eWHORM to share our knowledge on microscopic methods to detect parasites by the development of a virtual training and assessment tool to help to eliminate worm Iifections all around the world.

- Dr. Jaap J. van Hellemond