Proposing a Compartmental Model for Leprosy and Parameterizing Using Regional Incidence in Brazil

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Hansen’s disease (HD), or leprosy, is still considered a public health risk in much of Brazil. Understanding the dynamics of the infection at a regional level can aid in identification of targets to improve control. A compartmental continuous-time model for leprosy dynamics was designed based on understanding of the biology of the infection. The transmission coefficients for the model and the rate of detection were fit for each region using Approximate Bayesian Computation applied to paucibacillary and multibacillary incidence data over the period of 2000 to 2010, and model fit was validated on incidence data from 2011 to 2012. Regional variation was noted in detection rate, with cases in the Midwest estimated to be infectious for 10 years prior to detection compared to 5 years for most other regions. Posterior predictions for the model estimated that elimination of leprosy as a public health risk would require, on average, 44–45 years in the three regions with the highest prevalence. The model is easily adaptable to other settings, and can be studied to determine the efficacy of improved case finding on leprosy control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0004925
JournalPLoS neglected tropical diseases
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 17 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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