Despite modern medical interventions, infectious diseases continue to generate huge socio-economic losses.
Whereas the benefits of eradicating a disease are therefore high, eradications require huge and costly efforts, which can be sustained only if sufficient progress can be achieved. While initial successes are usually obtained more easily, progress often becomes harder as a disease becomes rare in the eradication endgame. A long eradication tail of slowly decreasing incidence levels can frustrate eradication efforts, as it becomes unclear whether progress toward eradication is still being made and how much more needs to be invested to push the targeted disease beyond its extinction threshold. Realistic disease dynamics are complicated by evolutionary responses to interventions and by interactions among different temporal and spatial scales. Our model accounts for these complexities and allows predicting how hard or costly disease eradication will be.
Mazzucco R, Dieckmann U, & Metz JAJ (2016). Epidemiological, evolutionary, and economic determinants of eradication tails. Journal of Theoretical Biology 405: 58-65.