Steen Ethelberg

Steen Ethelberg


Steen Ethelberg , Infektionsepidemiologi og Forebyggelse / Fødevare- og Vandbårne Sygd. og Zoonoser
T. +45 32683545 @.


Senior researcher in the epidemiology of zoonotic infections.
Head of the Section of Food- and Waterborne and Zoonotic Infections.
Supervisor for the EPIET field epidemiology training for Denmark
Professor, Global Health Section, University of Copenhagen.
See also profile in Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Research area

Research into the epidemiology of food- and waterborne and zoonotic infections. Our research aim to improve our understanding of how and to which degree these diseases are transmitted to people and cause outbreaks – with the overall aim of hopefully being able to devise ways to reduce the infection pressure. The methods are analyses of surveillance data, register data, questionnaire data, data from outbreaks in addition to geographical and microbiological data. We try to be active within most of the many diseases we work with – but with a particular focus on the very frequent (Campylobacter and Salmonella) and serious (Listeria and STEC). From 2019 also research into various aspects of COVID-19.

Pubmed link


Responsibilities include:

  • Analysis and dissemination of epidemiological surveillance data for foodborne and Zoonotic Infections
  • Consolidate and develop the Danish wastewater based surveillance (WBS) system
  • Cooridinator of the European 26-country, collaborative WBS project EU-WISH, aiming to do the same at European level
  • To find and investigate disease outbreaks (foodborne outbreaks in particular)
  • Danish supervisor of the European EPIET training programme, Focal Point for training towards ECDC
  • Organise and perform research activities with the aim of improving the understanding of the epidemiology of Food- and Waterborne and Zoonotic Infections – with the aim of obtaining better prevention.
  • From 2020-2022, I’ve almost exclusively worked on COVID-19, including on setting up alternative surveillance systems. 

5 Publications

Hansen CH, Michlmayr D, Gubbels SM, Mølbak K & Ethelberg S: Assessment of protection against reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 among 4 million PCR-tested individuals in Denmark in 2020: a population-level observational study. 2021, The Lancet, 397(10280):1204-1212. LINK

O'Regan E, Svalgaard IB, Sørensen AIV, Spiliopoulos L, Bager P, Nielsen NM, Hansen JV, Koch A, Ethelberg S, Hviid A. A hybrid register and questionnaire study of Covid-19 and post-acute sick leave in Denmark. 2023, Nature Communications, Oct 7;14(1):6266. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-42048-1. PMID: 37805514; PMCID: PMC10560282. LINK.

McManus O, Christiansen LE, Nauta M, Krogsgaard LW, Bahrenscheer NS, von Kappelgaard L, Christiansen T, Hansen M, Hansen NC, Kähler J, Rasmussen A, Richter SR, Rasmussen LD, Franck KT & Ethelberg S: Predicting COVID-19 incidence using wastewater surveillance data in Denmark, October 2021 – June 2022. 2023, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Aug;29(8):1589-1597. LINK.

Espenhain L, Tribler S, Sværke Jørgensen C, Holm Hansen C, Wolff Sönksen U & Ethelberg S: Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in Denmark: nationwide, population-based seroepidemiological study. 2021, European journal of Epidemiology, 36(7): 715-725. LINK

Dougherty PE, Møller FT, Ethelberg S, Isaksson GØ & Jore S: Simulation and identification of foodborne outbreaks in a large supermarket consumer purchase dataset. 2022, Nature Scientific Reports, 7;12(1):11491. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-15584-x. LINK.