Mathematical modelling of the spread of hepatitis C in injecting drug users

Corson, Stephen and Greenhalgh, David and Hutchinson, Sharon (2009) Mathematical modelling of the spread of hepatitis C in injecting drug users. In: 35'th Young Statisticians Meeting, 2009-04-07 - 2009-04-08.

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The Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a global health problem. Since its discovery in 1989 it is estimated that 3% of the global population are infected (approximately 180 million people), with approximately 3-4 million new infections each year. HCV is transmitted by means of blood-blood contact. The introduction of screening blood products in developed countries, however, means that the injecting drug user (IDU) community is now at the greatest risk of contracting the disease through the sharing of unsterilised injecting equipment. With approximately 75% of those contracting the disease progressing to chronic infection and death, the disease is a substantial cause of morbidity and mortality. With no vaccination available, the future economic burden is likely to be substantial. It is for this reason that the greatest impact on the spread of Hepatitis C will come from the intervention measures employed by health organisations worldwide. Unfortunately, the epidemiology of the disease and the interactions in the IDU population is difficult to study and understand. Using mathematical modelling techniques it is possible to better understand the intricate relationship between the risk behaviour of the IDU population and the biological properties of the disease at its various stages. Furthermore, the likely impact of the intervention strategies, treatment options, and diagnostic tools on the prevalence of the disease in the IDU population can also be modelled. Using these techniques it has been possible to construct a simple mathematical model to describe the spread of HCV. An expression of the basic reproductive number, R0 , has been found and the stability of equilibrium solutions has been investigated.


Corson, Stephen ORCID logoORCID:, Greenhalgh, David ORCID logoORCID: and Hutchinson, Sharon;