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Yaws is a disabling bacterial infection found primarily in warm and humid tropical areas. The World Health Organization strategy mandates an initial round of total community treatment (TCT) with single-dose azithromycin followed either by further TCT or active case-finding and treatment of cases and their contacts (the Morges strategy). We sought to investigate the effectiveness of the Morges strategy. We employed a stochastic household model to study the transmission of infection using data collected from a pre-TCT survey conducted in the Solomon Islands. We used this model to assess the proportion of asymptomatic infections that occurred in households without active cases. This analysis indicated that targeted treatment of cases and their household contacts would miss a large fraction of asymptomatic infections (65%-100%). This fraction was actually higher at lower prevalences. Even assuming that all active cases and their households were successfully treated, our analysis demonstrated that at all prevalences present in the data set, up to 90% of (active and asymptomatic) infections would not be treated under household-based contact tracing. Mapping was undertaken as part of the study "Epidemiology of Yaws in the Solomon Islands and the Impact of a Trachoma Control Programme," in September-October 2013.

Original publication




Journal article


American journal of epidemiology

Publication Date





837 - 844


Mathematics Institute, University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom.


Humans, Yaws, Azithromycin, Anti-Bacterial Agents, Contact Tracing, Models, Statistical, Communicable Disease Control, Melanesia, Female, Male