Universiteit Leiden

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Leonardus Visser

Professor Infectious Diseases

Name
Prof.dr. L.G. Visser
Telephone
+31 71 526 6534
E-mail
l.g.visser@lumc.nl

Leo Visser holds a position as Professor of Infection Diseases with specific interest in Travel Medicine. Leo Visser is head of the Department of Infectious Diseases and deputy director of Internal Medicine Residency Program at the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC). Leo Visser is Member of the European Expert Committee on Travel Medicine and current President of the International Society of Travel Medicine.

More information about Leonardus Visser

Leo Visser holds a position as Professor of Infection Diseases with specific interest in Travel Medicine. Leo Visser is head of the Department of Infectious Diseases and deputy director of Internal Medicine Residency Program at the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC). Leo Visser is Member of the European Expert Committee on Travel Medicine and current President of the International Society of Travel Medicine.

Infection Diseases

Travel to remote areas in the world has come within reach of an increasing number of people. In 2015 the number of international arrivals amounted to 1.2 billion and is expected to hit 1.8 billion by 2030.

Modern aviation has enabled man to travel within the incubation period of most infectious diseases. Often signs and symptoms only become apparent after returning home. Travel-related health problems that can occur during or after travel are highly divers, ranging from (tropical) infectious diseases to injuries and accidents, exacerbation of underlying chronic disease, culture shock, and medical mistakes following medical tourism.

Specialized knowledge of geographical distribution of diseases, diagnostic procedures, preventive and therapeutic measures are required for a correct and rapid response. This specific knowledge of the global epidemiology of infectious diseases, the effects of travel on health, the usefulness of vaccines, the effectiveness and safety of preventive and standby treatment, and the diagnosis and treatment of (tropical) infectious diseases has accumulated in a new field of medicine, travel medicine.
Travel medicine not only encompasses individual patient care, but also includes important aspects of public health. With increasing global movement of people and goods, there is a continuous threat of introducing new or re-emerging infectious diseases from countries with limited or failing health care systems.

The public health and social-economical consequences of the globalisation of infectious diseases were well illustrated with the outbreak of a completely new and deadly disease of respiratory tract called SARS in 2003. Other more recent examples are the outbreak of vivax malaria and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever in Greece, and yellow fever in Brasil.
The spread of extended-spectrum betalactamase-or carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae from India and South-East Asia will have dire consequences for the treatment of common infections also in Europe.

Finally, travel medicine also touches upon global health and migrant health. Knowledge of local determinants and indicators of health, and burden of disease in low and middle income countries (LOMIC) will help to better prepare travellers to and migrants from these countries.

It is important to keep improving medical training in travel medicine. On the one hand to prepare the medical student who is planning to do an elective in low- or middle-income country, on the other hand to enable all health care professionals to take care of these travellers.

Research in travel medicine aims at increasing insight in risk factors for travel-related (infectious) diseases to improve prevention – for example through vaccination -, diagnosis or treatment. Special attention is given to the more vulnerable traveller with chronic diseases, advanced age, or immunosuppressed in particular those following solid organ transplantation or receiving immunobiologicals.

Academic career

Professor Leo Visser studied medicine at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. He specialized in Infectious Diseases at the Leiden University Medical Center, where he obtained his PhD (1997). The title of his doctoral thesis reads: ‘Virulence Proteins of Yersinia enterocolitica inhibit antimicrobial functions of professional phagocytes’. He was appointed as Professor in Infectious Diseases and Travel Medicine in 2014. The title of his inaugural lecture was: ‘I’m going on a journey, and I’m taking with me ...

For more than 20 years, Professor Visser is involved in clinical care, research, teaching and training in internal medicine and infectious diseases, with the emphasis on vaccinology, vaccine-preventable and tropical diseases, travel medicine and global health.

He is head of the LUMC travel clinic, which is a reference centre for travel medicine and vaccination in The Netherlands.

Professor Visser holds a position as Head of the Department of Infectious Diseases at the LUMC.

Professor Visser holds several positions at national and international committees and scientific organizations. Currently, Professor Visser is the President of the International Society of Travel Medicine and member of the European Expert Committee for Travel Medicine. In the past he was, amongst others, member of the steering committee of TropNet, the European Network on the Surveillance of Imported Infectious Diseases (www.tropnet.eu) and chairman of the National Coordination Centre for Travellers' Health Advice (LCR).

His current research activities involve vaccination responses in immunosuppressed hosts, immune response to yellow fever vaccine in elderly, alternative vaccination routes, and immunogenicity and safety of intradermally administered rabies vaccines. Malaria vaccine research is performed in close collaboration with the Department of Parasitology (LUMC) and Radboud Universtiy of Nijmegen with special emphasis on the search for biomarkers of protection in the controlled human malaria infection model.

Professor Infectious Diseases

  • Faculteit Geneeskunde
  • Divisie 4
  • Infectious Diseases

Work address

LUMC Main Building
Albinusdreef 2
2333 ZA Leiden
Room number C5P

Contact

  • Experten Kommittee fur Reisemedizin Zwitserland Lid European Expert Committee on Travel Medicine
  • GSK advisory board meeting rabies vaccine
  • International Society of Travel Medicine Past-president ISTM
  • International Society of Travel Medicine President ISTM
  • International Society of Travel Medicine president-elect international society travel medicine
  • LCR lid brede werkgroep
  • LCR lid kleine werkgroep
  • LCR lid malaria werkgroep
  • LSHTM Invited lecturer
  • NVMM richtlijncdommissie laboratorium intestinale parasieten
  • RIVM/VWS lid nationale certificatie committee mazelen en rubella eradicatie
  • RIVM/VWS lid nationale certificatie committee polio eradicatie
  • TropNet Lid steering committee
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