Differential health impact of intervention programs for time-varying disease risk: a measles vaccination modeling study

Allison Portnoy, Yuli Lily Hsieh, Kaja Abbas, Petra Klepac, Heather Santos, Logan Brenzel, Mark Jit, Matthew Ferrari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Dynamic modeling is commonly used to evaluate direct and indirect effects of interventions on infectious disease incidence. The risk of secondary outcomes (e.g., death) attributable to infection may depend on the underlying disease incidence targeted by the intervention. Consequently, the impact of interventions (e.g., the difference in vaccination and no-vaccination scenarios) on secondary outcomes may not be proportional to the reduction in disease incidence. Here, we illustrate the estimation of the impact of vaccination on measles mortality, where case fatality ratios (CFRs) are a function of dynamically changing measles incidence. Methods: We used a previously published model of measles CFR that depends on incidence and vaccine coverage to illustrate the effects of (1) assuming higher CFR in “no-vaccination” scenarios, (2) time-varying CFRs over the past, and (3) time-varying CFRs in future projections on measles impact estimation. We used modeled CFRs in alternative scenarios to estimate measles deaths from 2000 to 2030 in 112 low- and middle-income countries using two models of measles transmission: Pennsylvania State University (PSU) and DynaMICE. We evaluated how different assumptions on future vaccine coverage, measles incidence, and CFR levels in “no-vaccination” scenarios affect the estimation of future deaths averted by measles vaccination. Results: Across 2000–2030, when CFRs are separately estimated for the “no-vaccination” scenario, the measles deaths averted estimated by PSU increased from 85.8% with constant CFRs to 86.8% with CFRs varying 2000–2018 and then held constant or 85.9% with CFRs varying across the entire time period and by DynaMICE changed from 92.0 to 92.4% or 91.9% in the same scenarios, respectively. By aligning both the “vaccination” and “no-vaccination” scenarios with time-variant measles CFR estimates, as opposed to assuming constant CFRs, the number of deaths averted in the vaccination scenarios was larger in historical years and lower in future years. Conclusions: To assess the consequences of health interventions, impact estimates should consider the effect of “no-intervention” scenario assumptions on model parameters, such as measles CFR, in order to project estimated impact for alternative scenarios according to intervention strategies and investment decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113
JournalBMC Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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