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Lancet Infect Dis. 2004 Apr;4(4):223-34.

Mathematical modelling and the control of lymphatic filariasis.

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Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College School of Medicine, London, UK.


The current global initiative to eliminate lymphatic filariasis represents one of the largest mass drug administration programmes ever conceived for the control of a parasitic disease. Yet, it is still not known whether the WHO-recommended primary strategy of applying annual single-dose mass chemotherapy with a combination of two drugs for 4-6 years will effectively break parasite transmission from all endemic communities. Here we review recent work on the development and application of a deterministic mathematical model of filariasis transmission, to show how models of parasite transmission will help resolve the key currently debated questions regarding the ultimate effectiveness of the global strategy to control filariasis. These critical questions include the required duration of mass treatment in different endemic areas, the optimal drug coverage required to meet control targets within prescribed timeframes, the impact and importance of adding vector control to mass chemotherapy regimens, and the likelihood of the development of drug resistance by treated worm populations. The results demonstrate the vital role that integrating these models into control programming can have in providing effective decision-support frameworks for undertaking the optimal design and monitoring of regional and global filariasis-control programmes. Operationally, the models show that the effectiveness of the strategy to achieve filariasis control will be determined by successfully addressing two key factors: the need to maintain high community treatment coverages, and the need to include vector control measures especially in areas of high endemicity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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