Identification of Hidden Key Hepatitis C Populations: An Evaluation of Screening Practices Using Mixed Epidemiological Methods

Angelique P. A. Vermeiren*, Nicole H.T.M. Dukers-Muijrers, Inge H. M. van Loo, Frans Stals, Dirk W. van Dam, Ton Ambergen, Christian J. P. A. Hoebe

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of liver diseases worldwide. Due to its asymptomatic nature, screening is necessary for identification. Because screening of the total population is not cost effective, it is important to identify which risk factors for positivity characterize the key populations in which targeting of screening yields the highest numbers of HCV positives, and assess which of these key populations have remained hidden to current care. Methods: Laboratory registry data (2002-2008) were retrieved for all HCV tests (23,800) in the south of the Netherlands (adult population 500,000). Screening trends were tested using Poisson regression and chi-square tests. Risk factors for HCV positivity were assessed using a logistic regression. The hidden HCV-positive population was estimated by a capture-recapture approach. Results: The number of tests increased over time (2,388 to 4,149, p
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere51194
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume7
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2012

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