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Optimal disease eradication

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 October 2007

SCOTT BARRETT
Affiliation:
School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, 1619 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036-1984 USA. Tel: (202) 663-5761. Fax (202) 663-5769. Email: sbarrett@jhu.edu
MICHAEL HOEL
Affiliation:
Department of Economics, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1095 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway. Tel: 47 22858387. Fax 47 22855035. Email: michael.hoel@econ.uio.no

Abstract

Using a dynamic model of the control of an infectious disease, we derive the conditions under which eradication will be optimal. When eradication is feasible, the optimal program requires either a low vaccination rate or eradication. A high vaccination rate is never optimal. Under special conditions, the results are especially stark: the optimal policy is either not to vaccinate at all or to eradicate. Our analysis yields a cost–benefit rule for eradication, which we apply to the current initiative to eradicate polio.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
2007 Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

We are grateful to Atle Seierstad for helpful discussions and to two anonymous reviewers for comments on an earlier version of this paper.
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