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

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  • J. Longbottom
  • C. Wamboga
  • P.R. Bessell
  • S.J. Torr
  • M.C. Stanton
Article numbere0008599
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2/03/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number3
Number of pages17
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


BACKGROUND: 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 (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. CONCLUSIONS: 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.