CystiSim - An Agent-Based Model for Taenia solium Transmission and Control

Type Journal Article - PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Title CystiSim - An Agent-Based Model for Taenia solium Transmission and Control
Volume 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers 17
Taenia solium taeniosis/cysticercosis was declared eradicable by the International Task
Force for Disease Eradication in 1993, but remains a neglected zoonosis. To assist in the
attempt to regionally eliminate this parasite, we developed cystiSim, an agent-based model
for T. solium transmission and control. The model was developed in R and available as an R
package ( cystiSim was adapted to an
observed setting using field data from Tanzania, but adaptable to other settings if necessary.
The model description adheres to the Overview, Design concepts, and Details (ODD)
protocol and consists of two entities—pigs and humans. Pigs acquire cysticercosis through
the environment or by direct contact with a tapeworm carrier’s faeces. Humans acquire taeniosis
from slaughtered pigs proportional to their infection intensity. The model allows for
evaluation of three interventions measures or combinations hereof: treatment of humans,
treatment of pigs, and pig vaccination, and allows for customary coverage and efficacy settings.
cystiSim is the first agent-based transmission model for T. solium and suggests that
control using a strategy consisting of an intervention only targeting the porcine host is possible,
but that coverage and efficacy must be high if elimination is the ultimate goal. Good coverage
of the intervention is important, but can be compensated for by including an additional
intervention targeting the human host. cystiSim shows that the scenarios combining interventions
in both hosts, mass drug administration to humans, and vaccination and treatment
of pigs, have a high probability of success if coverage of 75% can be maintained over at
least a four year period. In comparison with an existing mathematical model for T. solium
transmission, cystiSim also includes parasite maturation, host immunity, and environmental
contamination. Adding these biological parameters to the model resulted in new insights
in the potential effect of intervention measures.

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