On the transmission dynamics of Buruli ulcer in Ghana : insights through a mathematical model
CITATION: Nyabadza, F. & Bonyah, E. 2015. On the transmission dynamics of Buruli ulcer in Ghana : insights through a mathematical model. BMC Research Notes, 8:656, doi:10.1186/s13104-015-1619-5.
The original publication is available at http://bmcresnotes.biomedcentral.com
Background: Mycobacterium ulcerans is know to cause the Buruli ulcer. The association between the ulcer and environmental exposure has been documented. However, the epidemiology of the ulcer is not well understood. A hypothesised transmission involves humans being bitten by the water bugs that prey on mollusks, snails and young fishes. Methods: In this paper, a model for the transmission of Mycobacterium ulcerans to humans in the presence of a preventive strategy is proposed and analysed. The model equilibria are determined and conditions for the existence of the equilibria established. The model analysis is carried out in terms of the reproduction number R0. The disease free equilibrium is found to be locally asymptotically stable for R0 < 1. The model is fitted to data from Ghana. Results: The model is found to exhibit a backward bifurcation and the endemic equilibrium point is globally stable when R0 > 1. Sensitivity analysis showed that the Buruli ulcer epidemic is highly influenced by the shedding and clearance rates of Mycobacterium ulcerans in the environment. The model is found to fit reasonably well to data from Ghana and projections on the future of the Buruli ulcer epidemic are also made. Conclusions: The model reasonably fitted data from Ghana. The fitting process showed data that appeared to have reached a steady state and projections showed that the epidemic levels will remain the same for the projected time. The implications of the results to policy and future management of the disease are discussed.