The World Health Organization currently recommends assessing elimination of onchocerciasis by testing whether Ov16 antibody prevalence in children aged 0-9 years is below 0.1%. However, the certainty of evidence for this recommendation is considered to be low. We used the established ONCHOSIM model to investigate the predictive value of different Ov16-antibody prevalence thresholds in various age groups for elimination of onchocerciasis in a variety of endemic settings and for various mass drug administration scenarios. According to our simulations, the predictive value of Ov16 antibody prevalence for elimination depends highly on the precontrol epidemiologic situation, history of mass drug administration, the age group that is sampled, and the chosen Ov16-antibody prevalence threshold. The Ov16 antibody prevalence in children aged 5-14 years performs best in predicting elimination. Appropriate threshold values for this age group start at 2.0% for very highly endemic areas; for lower-endemic areas, even higher threshold values are safe to use. Guidelines can be improved by sampling school-aged children, which also is operationally more feasible than targeting children under age 10 years. The use of higher threshold values allows sampling of substantially fewer children. Further improvement can be achieved by taking a differentiated sampling approach based on precontrol endemicity.

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Keywords agent-based modeling, antibodies, disease elimination, infectious disease transmission, mass drug administration, onchocerciasis, predictive value of tests
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Journal American Journal of Epidemiology
Coffeng, L.E, Stolk, W.A, Golden, A, de los Santos, T, Domingo, G.J, & de Vlas, S.J. (2019). Predictive Value of Ov16 Antibody Prevalence in Different Subpopulations for Elimination of African Onchocerciasis. American Journal of Epidemiology, 188(9), 1723–1732. doi:10.1093/aje/kwz109