Estimating the number of injecting drug users in Scotland's HCV-diagnosed population using capture-recapture methods

S. A. McDonald*, S. J. Hutchinson, C. Schnier, A. McLeod, D. J. Goldberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

SUMMARY In countries maintaining national hepatitis C virus (HCV) surveillance systems, a substantial proportion of individuals report no risk factors for infection. Our goal was to estimate the proportion of diagnosed HCV antibody-positive persons in Scotland (1991-2010) who probably acquired infection through injecting drug use (IDU), by combining data on IDU risk from four linked data sources using log-linear capture-recapture methods. Of 25 521 HCV-diagnosed individuals, 14 836 (58%) reported IDU risk with their HCV diagnosis. Log-linear modelling estimated a further 2484 HCV-diagnosed individuals with IDU risk, giving an estimated prevalence of 83. Stratified analyses indicated variation across birth cohort, with estimated prevalence as low as 49% in persons born before 1960 and greater than 90% for those born since 1960. These findings provide public-health professionals with a more complete profile of Scotland's HCV-infected population in terms of transmission route, which is essential for targeting educational, prevention and treatment interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-207
Number of pages8
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
Volume142
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2013

Keywords

  • Capture-recapture analysis
  • Hepatitis C
  • Injecting drug users (IDUs)

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