## Abstract

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.

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.

Original language | English |
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Publication status | Published - 2009 |

Event | 35'th Young Statisticians Meeting - Glasgow, United Kingdom Duration: 7 Apr 2009 → 8 Apr 2009 |

### Conference

Conference | 35'th Young Statisticians Meeting |
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Country/Territory | United Kingdom |

City | Glasgow |

Period | 7/04/09 → 8/04/09 |

## Keywords

- hepatitis C
- mathematical modelling
- injecting
- drug users