Publicaties

Crossing barriers : How neglected arboviruses journey through the placenta

Oymans, Judith

Samenvatting

The Schmallenberg outbreak of 2011 and the Zika virus outbreak of 2015 have demonstrated the devastating consequences of epizootics and epidemics caused by new or emerging arboviruses with the ability to transmit vertically in both humans and animals. Our poor preparedness has highlighted a knowledge gap in our understanding of the mechanisms underlying vertical transmission and the pathology that leads to abortion, stillbirth or congenital malformations. It is important that we bridge this knowledge gap by studying neglected arboviruses that exhibit vertical transmission so that we are able to identify and prioritise potential threats for animal and human health in the future. Characterising the mechanisms that underlie the pathophysiology of these viruses could also aid the development of efficient countermeasures. In this thesis, I elucidated the transmission routes of arboviruses over the placental barrier to the foetuses by identifying primary target cells and tissues. A first step towards being able to study these viruses is to develop protocols and tools that can also be used for the development of diagnostic procedures.