Celeste Vallejo, James Keesling, James Koopman, Burton Singer
Infectious Disease Modeling
November 8, 2017
Small populations that have been isolated by conflict make vaccination and surveillance difficult, threatening polio eradication. Silent circulation is caused by asymptomatic infections. It is currently not clear whether the dynamics of waning immunity also influence the risk of silent circulation in the absence of vaccination. Such circulation can, nevertheless, be present following a declaration of elimination as a result of inadequate acute flaccid paralysis surveillance (AFPS) or environmental surveillance (ES).
We have constructed a stochastic model to understand how stochastic effects alter the ability of small populations to sustain virus circulation in the absence of vaccination. We analyzed how the stochastic process determinants of the duration of silent circulation that could have been detected by ES were affected by R0, waning dynamics, population size, and AFPS sensitivity in a discrete individual stochastic model with homogeneous contagiousness and random mixing. We measured the duration of silent circulation both by the interval between detected acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) cases and the duration of circulation until elimination.
As R0 increased and population size increased, the interval between detected AFP cases and the duration of circulation until elimination increased. As AFPS detection rates decreased, the interval between detected AFP cases increased. There was up to a 22%chance of silent circulation lasting for more than 3 years with 100% AFP detection. The duration of silent circulation was not affected by the waning immunity dynamics.
We demonstrated that small populations have the potential to sustain prolonged silent circulation. Surveillance in these areas should be intensified before declaring elimination. To further validate these conclusions, it is necessary to realistically relax the simplifying assumptions about mixing and waning.