CystiHuman: A model of human neurocysticercosis

Gabrielle Bonnet, Francesco Pizzitutti, Eloy A. Gonzales-Gustavson, Sarah Gabriël, William K. Pan, Hector H. Garcia, Javier A. Bustos, Percy Vilchez, Seth E. ONeal

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5 Scopus citations


Introduction The Taenia solium tapeworm is responsible for cysticercosis, a neglected tropical disease presenting as larvae in the body of a host following taenia egg ingestion. Neurocysticercosis (NCC), the name of the disease when it affects the human central nervous system, is a major cause of epilepsy in developing countries, and can also cause intracranial hypertension, hydrocephalus and death. Simulation models can help identify the most cost-effective interventions before their implementation. Modelling NCC should enable the comparison of a broad range of interventions, from treatment of human taeniasis (presence of an adult taenia worm in the human intestine) to NCC mitigation. It also allows a focus on the actual impact of the disease, rather than using proxies as is the case for other models. Methods This agent-based model is the first model that simulates human NCC and associated pathologies. It uses the output of another model, CystiAgent, which simulates the evolution of pig cysticercosis and human taeniasis, adding human and cyst agents, including a model of cyst location and stage, human symptoms, and treatment. CystiHuman also accounts for delays in the appearance of NCC-related symptoms. It comprises three modules detailing cyst development, seizure probability and timing, and intracranial hypertension/hydrocephalus, respectively. It has been implemented in Java MASON and calibrated in three endemic villages in Peru, then applied to another village (Rica Playa) to compare simulation results with field data in that village. Results and discussion Despite limitations in available field data, parameter values found through calibration are plausible and simulated outcomes in Rica Playa are close to actual values for NCC prevalence and the way it increases with age and cases with single lesions. Initial simulations further suggest that short-term interventions followed by a rapid increase in taeniasis prevalence back to original levels may have limited impacts on NCC prevalence.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1010118
JournalPLoS Computational Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022

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Copyright: © 2022 Bonnet et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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