South African Journal of Science
On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
Print version ISSN 0038-2353
Tuberculosis (TB) continues to present an insurmountable health burden in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. TB dynamics in adults is different from that in children, with the former determining the latter. Because the dynamics of TB are largely dependent on age, planning for interventions requires reasonable and realistic projections of the incidence across ages. It is thus important to model the dynamics of TB using mathematical models as predictive tools. We considered a TB compartmental model that is age dependent and whose parameters are set as functions of age. The model was fitted to the TB incidence data from the Cape Town metropole. The effective contact rate, a function of both age and time, was changed to fit the model to the notification rates of active TB disease cases. Our simulations illustrate that age structure plays an important role in the dynamics of TB. Projections on the future of the epidemic were made for each age group. The projected results show that TB incidence is likely to increase in the lower age groups of the population. It is clearly evident that even very simple models when applied to limited data can actually give valuable insights. Our results show that the age groups who have the highest incidence rates of active TB disease have the highest contribution in the transmission of TB. Furthermore, interventions should be targeted in the age group 25-34 years.
Keywords : simulation; age-specific model; incidence; tuberculosis; data.