The effectiveness of environmental decontamination (ED) as a measure in the control of infectious diseases is controversial. This work quantifies the effectiveness of ED by analysing the transmission of pathogens from the environment to susceptible hosts in a Susceptible–Infected–Susceptible model. Analysis of the model shows that ED can render a population disease-free only when the duration of infection (D) is within a certain range. As host-to-host transmission rate is increased, D falls outside this range and the higher levels of ED have a diminishing return in reducing the number of infected hosts at endemic equilibrium. To avoid this, ED can be combined with other control measures, such as treating infected individuals to push the duration of infection into the specified range. We propose decision criteria and minimum ED efforts required for control policies to be effective.
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