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Reinfection by untreated partners of people treated for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae: mathematical modelling study
  1. Nicola Low1,
  2. Janneke Cornelia Maria Heijne1,2,
  3. Sereina Annik Herzog1,3,
  4. Christian Lorenz Althaus1
  1. 1Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM), University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  2. 2National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, The Netherlands
  3. 3Institute for Medical Informatics, Statistics and Documentation, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria
  1. Correspondence to Dr Christian Lorenz Althaus, Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM), University of Bern, Bern CH-3012, Switzerland; christian.althaus{at}


Objectives Reinfection after treatment for Chlamydia trachomatis or Neisseria gonorrhoeae reduces the effect of control interventions. We explored the impact of delays in treatment of current partners on the expected probability of reinfection of index cases using a mathematical model.

Methods We used previously reported parameter distributions to calculate the probability that index cases would be reinfected by their untreated partners. We then assumed different delays between index case and partner treatment to calculate the probabilities of reinfection.

Results In the absence of partner treatment, the medians of the expected reinfection probabilities are 19.4% (IQR 9.2–31.6%) for C trachomatis and 12.5% (IQR 5.6–22.2%) for N gonorrhoeae. If all current partners receive treatment 3 days after the index case, the expected reinfection probabilities are 4.2% (IQR 2.1–6.9%) for C trachomatis and 5.5% (IQR 2.6–9.5%) for N gonorrhoeae.

Conclusions Quicker partner referral and treatment can substantially reduce reinfection rates for C trachomatis and N gonorrhoeae by untreated partners. The formula we used to calculate reinfection rates can be used to inform the design of randomised controlled trials of novel partner notification technologies like accelerated partner therapy.


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