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Despite great progress in eliminating trachoma from the majority of worldwide districts, trachoma control seems to have stalled in some endemic districts. Can mathematical models help suggest the way forward? We review specific achievements of models in trachoma control in the past. Models showed that, even with incomplete coverage, mass drug administration could eliminate disease through a spillover effect, somewhat analogous to how incomplete vaccine campaigns can eliminate disease through herd protection. Models also suggest that elimination can always be achieved if enough people are treated often enough with an effective enough drug. Other models supported the idea that targeting ages at highest risk or continued improvements in hygiene and sanitation can contribute meaningfully to trachoma control. Models of intensive targeting of a core group may point the way to final eradication even in areas with substantial transmission and within-community heterogeneity.

Original publication




Journal article


Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America

Publication Date





S275 - S280


Francis I. Proctor Foundation, San Francisco.