Modelling gambiense human African trypanosomiasis infection in villages of the Democratic Republic of Congo using Kolmogorov forward equations.J R Soc Interface. 2021 10; 18(183):20210419.JR
Stochastic methods for modelling disease dynamics enable the direct computation of the probability of elimination of transmission. For the low-prevalence disease of human African trypanosomiasis (gHAT), we develop a new mechanistic model for gHAT infection that determines the full probability distribution of the gHAT infection using Kolmogorov forward equations. The methodology allows the analytical investigation of the probabilities of gHAT elimination in the spatially connected villages of different prevalence health zones of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and captures the uncertainty using exact methods. Our method provides a more realistic approach to scaling the probability of elimination of infection between single villages and much larger regions, and provides results comparable to established models without the requirement of detailed infection structure. The novel flexibility allows the interventions in the model to be implemented specific to each village, and this introduces the framework to consider the possible future strategies of test-and-treat or direct treatment of individuals living in villages where cases have been found, using a new drug.