Comparison and validation of two mathematical models for the impact of mass drug administration on Ascaris lumbricoides and hookworm infection
The predictions of two mathematical models of the transmission dynamics of Ascaris lumbricoides and hookworm infection and the impact of mass drug administration (MDA) are compared, using data from India. One model has an age structured partial differential equation (PDE) deterministic framework for the distribution of parasite numbers per host and sexual mating. The second model is an individual-based stochastic model. Baseline data acquired prior to treatment are used to estimate key transmission parameters, and forward projections are made, given the known MDA population coverage. Predictions are compared with observed post-treatment epidemiological patterns. The two models could equally well predict the short-term impact of deworming on A. lumbricoides and hookworm infection levels, despite being fitted to different subsets and/or summary statistics of the data. As such, the outcomes give confidence in their use as aids to policy formulation for the use of PCT to control A. lumbricoides and hookworm infection. The models further largely agree in a qualitative sense on the added benefit of semi-annual vs. annual deworming and targeting of the entire population vs. only children, as well as the potential for interruption of transmission. Further, this study also illustrates that long-term predictions are sensitive to modelling assumptions about which age groups contribute most to transmission, which depends on human demography and age-patterns in exposure and contribution to the environmental reservoir of infection, the latter being notoriously difficult to empirically quantify.