Modelling meningococcal meningitis in the African meningitis belt

Irving, T J, Blyuss, K B, Colijn, C and Trotter, C L (2012) Modelling meningococcal meningitis in the African meningitis belt. Epidemiology and Infection, 140 (05). pp. 897-905. ISSN 1469-4409

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Meningococcal meningitis is a major public health problem in a large area of sub-Saharan Africa
known as the meningitis belt. Disease incidence increases every dry season, before dying out with
the first rains of the year. Large epidemics, which can kill tens of thousands of people, occur
frequently but unpredictably every 6–14 years. It has been suggested that these patterns may be
attributable to complex interactions between the bacteria, human hosts and the environment.
We used deterministic compartmental models to investigate how well simple model structures
with seasonal forcing were able to qualitatively capture these patterns of disease. We showed that
the complex and irregular timing of epidemics could be caused by the interaction of temporary
immunity conferred by carriage of the bacteria together with seasonal changes in the
transmissibility of infection. This suggests that population immunity is an important factor to
include in models attempting to predict meningitis epidemics.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Epidemics;infectious disease;mathematical modelling; meningitis; meningococcal disease
Schools and Departments: School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Mathematics
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA0299 Analysis. Including analytical methods connected with physical problems
Depositing User: Konstantin Blyuss
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2012 11:57
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2012 11:57
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