BACKGROUND: Control of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) on the Indian subcontinent relies on prompt detection and treatment of symptomatic cases. Detection efforts influence the observed VL incidence and how well it reflects the underlying true incidence. As control targets are defined in terms of observed cases, there is an urgent need to understand how changes in detection delay and population coverage of improved detection affect VL control. METHODS: Using a mathematical model for transmission and control of VL, we predict the impact of reduced detection delays and/or increased population coverage of the detection programs on observed and true VL incidence and mortality. RESULTS: Improved case detection, either by higher coverage or reduced detection delay, causes an initial rise in observed VL incidence before a reduction. Relaxation of improved detection may lead to an apparent temporary (1 year) reduction in VL incidence, but comes with a high risk of resurging infection levels. Duration of symptoms in detected cases shows an unequivocal association with detection effort. CONCLUSIONS: VL incidence on its own is not a reliable indicator of the performance of case detection programs. Duration of symptoms in detected cases can be used as an additional marker of the performance of case detection programs.

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Keywords improved case detection, mathematical modeling, mortality, resurgence, transmission dynamics, visceral leishmaniasis
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Journal The Journal of Infectious Diseases
Coffeng, L.E, le Rutte, E.A, Muñoz, J. (Johanna), Adams, E.R, Prada, J.M. (Joaquin M.), de Vlas, S.J, & Medley, G.F. (2020). Impact of Changes in Detection Effort on Control of Visceral Leishmaniasis in the Indian Subcontinent. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 221(5), S546–S553. doi:10.1093/infdis/jiz644