SD.20.016 – The end-game of infectious disease control

Route: Sustainable development goals for inclusive global development

Cluster question: 097 How can we control micro-organisms in health care, livestock farming, and the environment?

The most sustainable way to control an infectious disease is its world-wide eradication. Once gone, forever gone. Thus far, only smallpox and SARS have been eradicated through deliberate efforts. Still, WHO has targeted several infectious diseases to be eradicated or at least locally eliminated by 2030, including polio, tuberculosis and several so-called neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). The final phase of such efforts (the end-game) is characterized by three important barriers. First, current intervention strategies may not be sufficient to achieve elimination everywhere. Large scale mass treatment or vaccination campaigns are the preferred strategy, but such programmes can be jeopardized by non-participation and refusal. Second, it is difficult to locate and identify the remaining cases, especially if these are asymptomatic or if (for most parasitic NTDs) diagnostic tests show reduced sensitivity due to lower infection loads. Third, mobility may lead to re-introductions in areas freed of the infection, requiring strong surveillance efforts to early detect resurgence and act upon it. For a selected series of NTDs we aim to study and partially overcome these barriers through developing and applying various technical innovations, such as innovative vector control interventions and m-health tools, adaptive survey designs informed by geostatistical analysis, next-generation diagnostics, pool-screening methodologies and environmental diagnosis. We will use individual-based mathematical modelling to assess the required characteristics of new tools and to design strategies for their effective use. To develop and implement these innovations, we collaborate with several other Dutch research groups and various partner organisations in low and middle income countries that still experience the burden of these diseases.


Elimination, eradication, infectious diseases, neglected tropical diseases, novel interventions

Other organisations

Institute for Advanced Study IAS, Leiden Universitair Medisch Centrum (LUMC), Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Radboud Medical Center (RUMC), University of Amsterdam (UvA), Utrecht University (UU), various national and international infectious disease control programmes in low and middle-income countries, World Health Organization


Organisation Erasmus MC, Department of Public Health (EMC)
Name Prof. dr. S.J. (Sake) de Vlas