A game-theoretic model of lymphatic filariasis prevention

PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2022 Sep 22;16(9):e0010765. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0010765. eCollection 2022 Sep.

Abstract

Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a mosquito-borne parasitic neglected tropical disease. In 2000, WHO launched the Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF) as a public health problem. In 2020, new goals for 2030 were set which includes a reduction to 0 of the total population requiring Mass Drug Administrations (MDA), a primary tool of GPELF. We develop a mathematical model to study what can happen at the end of MDA. We use a game-theoretic approach to assess the voluntary use of insect repellents in the prevention of the spread of LF through vector bites. Our results show that when individuals use what they perceive as optimal levels of protection, the LF incidence rates will become high. This is in striking difference to other vector-borne NTDs such as Chagas or zika. We conclude that the voluntary use of the protection alone will not be enough to keep LF eliminated as a public health problem and a more coordinated effort will be needed at the end of MDA.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Elephantiasis, Filarial* / drug therapy
  • Elephantiasis, Filarial* / epidemiology
  • Elephantiasis, Filarial* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Insect Repellents*
  • Mass Drug Administration
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Public Health
  • Zika Virus Infection* / drug therapy
  • Zika Virus*

Substances

  • Insect Repellents

Grant support

The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.