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Eliminating yellow fever epidemics in Africa: vaccine demand forecast and impact modelling

By Kevin Jean, Arran Hamlet, Justus Benzler, Laurence Cibrelus, Katy A. M. Gaythorpe, Amadou Sall, Neil M. Ferguson, Tini Garske

Posted 19 Nov 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/468629 (published DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0008304)

Background: To counter the increasing global risk of Yellow fever (YF), the World Health Organisation initiated the Eliminate Yellow fever Epidemics (EYE) strategy. Estimating YF burden, as well as vaccine impact, while accounting for the features of urban YF transmission such as indirect benefits of vaccination, is key to informing this strategy. Methods and Findings: We developed two model variants to estimate YF burden in sub-Saharan Africa, assuming all infections stem from either the sylvatic or the urban cycle of the disease. Both relied on an ecological niche model fitted to the local presence of any YF reported event in 34 African countries. We calibrated under-reporting using independent estimates of transmission intensity provided by 12 serological surveys performed in 11 countries. We calculated local numbers of YF infections, deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost based on estimated transmission intensity while accounting for time-varying vaccination coverage. We estimated vaccine demand and impact of future preventive mass vaccination campaigns (PMVCs) according to various vaccination scenarios. Vaccination activities conducted in Africa between 2005 and 2017 were estimated to prevent from 3.3 (95% CI 1.2-7.7) to 6.1 (95% CI 2.4-13.2) millions of deaths over the lifetime of vaccinees, representing extreme scenarios of all transmission due to the sylvatic or the urban cycle, respectively. By prioritizing provinces based on the risk of urban YF transmission, an average of 37.7 million annual doses for PMVCs over eight years would avert an estimated 9,900,000 (95% CI 7,000,000-13,400,000) infections and 480,000 (180,000-1,140,000) deaths over the lifetime of vaccinees, corresponding to 1.7 (0.7-4.1) deaths averted per 1,000 vaccine doses. Limitations include substantial uncertainty in the estimates arising from the scarcity of reliable data from surveillance and serological surveys. Conclusions: By estimating YF burden and vaccine impact over a range of spatial and temporal scales, while accounting for the specificity of urban transmission, our model can be used to inform the current EYE strategy.

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