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Optimising passive surveillance of a neglected tropical disease in the era of elimination: A modelling study

Longbottom, Joshua, Wamboga, Charles, Bessell, Paul R., Torr, Steve ORCID: and Stanton, Michelle ORCID: (2021) 'Optimising passive surveillance of a neglected tropical disease in the era of elimination: A modelling study'. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Vol 15, Issue 3, e0008599.

journal.pntd.0008599.pdf - Accepted Version
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Surveillance is an essential component of global programs to eliminate infectious diseases and avert epidemics of (re-)emerging diseases. As the numbers of cases decline, costs of treatment and control diminish but those for surveillance remain high even after the ‘last’ case. Reducing surveillance may risk missing persistent or (re-)emerging foci of disease. Here, we use a simulation-based approach to determine the minimal number of passive surveillance sites required to ensure maximum coverage of a population at-risk (PAR) of an infectious disease.

Methodology and principal findings
For this study, we use Gambian human African trypanosomiasis (g-HAT) in north-western Uganda, a neglected tropical disease (NTD) which has been reduced to historically low levels (<1000 cases/year globally), as an example. To quantify travel time to diagnostic facilities, a proxy for surveillance coverage, we produced a high spatial-resolution resistance surface and performed cost-distance analyses. We simulated travel time for the PAR with different numbers (1–170) and locations (170,000 total placement combinations) of diagnostic facilities, quantifying the percentage of the PAR within 1h and 5h travel of the facilities, as per in-country targets. Our simulations indicate that a 70% reduction (51/170) in diagnostic centres still exceeded minimal targets of coverage even for remote populations, with >95% of a total PAR of ~3million individuals living ≤1h from a diagnostic centre, and we demonstrate an approach to best place these facilities, informing a minimal impact scale back.

Our results highlight that surveillance of g-HAT in north-western Uganda can be scaled back without substantially reducing coverage of the PAR. The methodology described can contribute to cost-effective and equable strategies for the surveillance of NTDs and other infectious diseases approaching elimination or (re-)emergence.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: QX Parasitology > Insects. Other Parasites > QX 505 Diptera
WA Public Health > WA 105 Epidemiology
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 680 Tropical diseases (General)
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 705 Trypanosomiasis
Faculty: Department: Biological Sciences > Vector Biology Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Stacy Murtagh
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2021 11:15
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2021 11:41


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