The Use of Mathematical Models of Chlamydia Transmission to Address Public Health Policy Questions: A Systematic Review

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Abstract

Background

Mathematical models of chlamydia transmission can help inform disease control policy decisions when direct empirical evaluation of alternatives is impractical. We reviewed published chlamydia models to understand the range of approaches used for policy analyses and how the studies have responded to developments in the field.

Methods

We performed a literature review by searching Medline and Google Scholar (up to October 2015) to identify publications describing dynamic chlamydia transmission models used to address public health policy questions. We extracted information on modeling methodology, interventions, and key findings.

Results

We identified 47 publications (including two model comparison studies), which reported collectively on 29 distinct mathematical models. Nine models were individual-based, and 20 were deterministic compartmental models. The earliest studies evaluated the benefits of national-level screening programs and predicted potentially large benefits from increased screening. Subsequent trials and further modeling analyses suggested the impact might have been overestimated. Partner notification has been increasingly evaluated in mathematical modeling, whereas behavioral interventions have received relatively limited attention.

Conclusions

Our review provides an overview of chlamydia transmission models and gives a perspective on how mathematical modeling has responded to increasing empirical evidence and addressed policy questions related to prevention of chlamydia infection and sequelae.

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