Re-infection-induced backward bifurcation in the transmission dynamics of Chlamydia trachomatis

O. Sharomi, A. B. Gumel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


A new two-group deterministic model for Chlamydia trachomatis is designed and analyzed to gain insights into its transmission dynamics. The model is shown to exhibit the phenomenon of backward bifurcation, where a stable disease-free equilibrium (DFE) co-exists with one or more stable endemic equilibria when the associated reproduction number is less than unity. It is further shown that the backward bifurcation dynamic is caused by the re-infection of individuals who recovered from the disease. The epidemiological implication of this result is that the classical requirement of the reproduction number being less than unity becomes only a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for disease elimination. The basic model is extended to incorporate the use of treatment for infectious individuals (including those who show disease symptoms and those who do not). Rigorous analysis of the treatment model reveals that the use of treatment could have positive or negative population-level impact, depending on the sign of a certain epidemiological threshold. The treatment model is used to evaluate various treatment strategies, namely treating every infected individual showing symptoms of Chlamydia (universal strategy), treating only infectious males showing Chlamydia symptoms (male-only strategy) and treating only infectious females showing symptoms of Chlamydia (female-only strategy). Numerical simulations show that the implementation of the male-only or female-only strategy can induce an indirect benefit of saving new cases of Chlamydia infection in the opposite sex. Further, the universal strategy gives the highest reduction in the cumulative number of new cases of infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-118
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Backward bifurcation
  • Chlamydia
  • Equilibria
  • Stability
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analysis
  • Applied Mathematics


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