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A TB model: Is disease eradication possible in India?

1. Public Health Foundation of India, Plot No. 47, Sector-44, Gurgaon-122002, Haryana, India
2. Dipartimento di Matematica "Giuseppe Peano", Università di Torino, via Carlo Alberto 10, 10123 Torino, Italy

Tuberculosis (TB) is returning to be a worldwide global public health threat. It is estimated that 9.6 million cases occurred in 2014, of which just two-thirds notified to public health authorities. The "missing cases" constitute a severe challenge for TB transmission control. TB is a severe disease in India, while, worldwide, the WHO estimates that one third of the entire world population is infected.

Nowadays, incidence estimation relies increasingly more on notifications of new cases from routine surveillance. There is an urgent need for better estimates of the load of TB, in high-burden settings. We developed a simple model of TB transmission dynamics, using a dynamical system model, consisting of six classes of individuals. It contains the current medical epidemiologists' understanding of the spread of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis in humans, which is substantiated by field observations at the district level in India. The model incorporates the treatment options provided by the public and private sectors in India. Mathematically, an interesting feature of the system is that it exhibits a backward, or subcritical, bifurcation.

One of the results of the investigation shows that the discrepancy between the diagnosis rates of the public and private sector does not seem to be the cause of the endemicity of the disease, and, unfortunately, even if they reached 100% of correct diagnosis, this would not be enough to achieve disease eradication.

Several other approaches have been attempted on the basis of this model to indicate possible strategies that may lead to disease eradication, but the rather sad conclusion is that they unfortunately do not appear viable in practice.

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© 2018 the Author(s), licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

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