Bull World Health Organ | Elimination and eradication goals for communicable diseases: a systematic review
Elimination and eradication goals for communicable diseases: a systematic review
Laila Khawar, Basil Donovan, Rosanna W Peeling, Rebecca J Guy & Skye McGregor
Bull World Health Organ 2023;101:649–665
Objective To consolidate recent information on elimination and eradication goals for infectious diseases and clarify the definitions and associated terminology for different goals.
Methods We conducted a systematic search of the World Health Organization’s Institutional Repository for Information Sharing (WHO IRIS) and a customized systematic Google advanced search for documents published between 2008 and 2022 on elimination or eradication strategies for infectious conditions authored by WHO or other leading health organizations. We extracted information on names of infectious conditions, the elimination and eradication goals and timelines, definitions of goals, non-standardized terminology, targets and assessment processes.
Findings We identified nine goals for 27 infectious conditions, ranging from disease control to eradication. In comparison with the hierarchy of disease control, as defined at the Dahlem Workshop in 1997, six goals related to disease control with varying levels of advancement, two related to elimination and one to eradication. Goals progressed along a disease-control continuum, such as end of disease epidemic to pre-elimination to elimination as a public health problem or threat. We identified the use of non-standardized terminology with certain goals, including virtual elimination, elimination of disease epidemics, public health threat and public health concern.
Conclusion As we approach the 2030 target date to achieve many of the goals related to disease control and for other infections to become candidates for elimination in the future, clarity of definitions and objectives is important for public health professionals and policy-makers to avoid misperceptions and miscommunication.