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ECDC: On Air

ECDC: On Air

By European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
A peek behind the scenes at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control - the EU agency that aims to identify, assess and communicate current and emerging threats to human health posed by infectious diseases in Europe.

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.

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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, or follow us on social media for the latest news.
August 12, 2022
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. For more information about ECDC, please visit, or follow us on Social Media.
July 27, 2022
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. For more information on ECDC please visit You can also follow us on social media for the latest news. 
July 06, 2022
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 or follow us on social media.
June 10, 2022
Episode 20 - Lara Payne-Hallström - Risk in the Mist
In this episode, we speak with Lara Payne-Hallström, ECDC expert on Legionnaires’ disease. Lara explains what this disease is, where its name comes from, and how and why ECDC monitors it.  She also tells us how she got interested in this disease in particular, and gives us all the details on where the bacteria grows and develops. You can find out more about Legionnaires’ disease here. For more news and information please visit or follow us on social media.
May 31, 2022
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 ECDC's Epidemoloigical Update related to salmonella (with links to national food safety authorities) here, and you can read ECDC's Rapid Outbreak Assessment here. You can find additional information from the European Food Safety Authority. For more news and information please visit or follow us on social media. 
April 15, 2022
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.  You can find more information about ECDC's on the Ukrainian crisis here and here.  For more information about ECDC, please visit, or follow us on Social Media.
April 08, 2022
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, or follow us on Social Media. Dr Rob van Hest's PhD on Capture-recapture methods in surveillance of tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. Eurosurveillance article on the Completeness of tuberculosis (TB) notification: inventory studies and capture-recapture analyses, six European Union countries, 2014 to 2016. 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.
March 23, 2022
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.   You can find more information about Epitweetr here, or see the Epitweetr page on Github. You can find more information on ECDC here, or follow us on Social Media for the latest news.
March 09, 2022
Episode 15 - Cornelia Adlhoch - Avian Flu and the Cathedral of Silence
In this episode, ECDC expert Cornelia Adlhoch talks all about avian influenza – how it spreads, how much of a threat it poses to humans, and the ‘cathedral silence’ that farmers sometimes experience when walking into an infected chicken coop. Learn more about avian flu on ECDC pages here too:
February 23, 2022
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. You can find more information on ECDC here, or follow us on Social Media for the latest news.
January 25, 2022
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. For more general information on ECDC please visit or follow us on Social Media.
January 12, 2022
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 or follow us on social media.
December 15, 2021
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
December 01, 2021
Episode 10 - Olivier Briet - Mosquito-borne Diseases and Their Spread in Europe
In this episode we chat with Olivier Briet, expert on mosquito-borne diseases. He tells us more about which diseases are transmitted by mosquitoes, what effect climate change has on the spread of diseases, and what ECDC does to monitor their spread. As always, you can find more information on this topic on our website:
November 17, 2021
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?” Please visit the dedicated ECDC pages for the flu here. You can find additional information via Flu News Europe.
October 13, 2021
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.
September 29, 2021
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
September 22, 2021
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.
September 07, 2021
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.”
September 01, 2021
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
August 18, 2021
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"
August 04, 2021
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.”
August 04, 2021
Episode 1 - Andrea Ammon - The Directors' 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."
August 04, 2021