Hepatitis C transmission and treatment in contact networks of people who inject drugs.
Bottom Line:
Re-infection plays a large role in the effectiveness of treatment interventions.Strategies that choose PWID and treat all their contacts (analogous to ring vaccination) are most effective in reducing the incidence rates of re-infection and combined infection.A strategy targeting infected PWID with the most contacts (analogous to targeted vaccination) is the least effective.
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PubMed Central - PubMed
Affiliation: Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
ABSTRACT
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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) chronically infects over 180 million people worldwide, with over 350,000 estimated deaths attributed yearly to HCV-related liver diseases. It disproportionally affects people who inject drugs (PWID). Currently there is no preventative vaccine and interventions feature long treatment durations with severe side-effects. Upcoming treatments will improve this situation, making possible large-scale treatment interventions. How these strategies should target HCV-infected PWID remains an important unanswered question. Previous models of HCV have lacked empirically grounded contact models of PWID. Here we report results on HCV transmission and treatment using simulated contact networks generated from an empirically grounded network model using recently developed statistical approaches in social network analysis. Our HCV transmission model is a detailed, stochastic, individual-based model including spontaneously clearing nodes. On transmission we investigate the role of number of contacts and injecting frequency on time to primary infection and the role of spontaneously clearing nodes on incidence rates. On treatment we investigate the effect of nine network-based treatment strategies on chronic prevalence and incidence rates of primary infection and re-infection. Both numbers of contacts and injecting frequency play key roles in reducing time to primary infection. The change from "less-" to "more-frequent" injector is roughly similar to having one additional network contact. Nodes that spontaneously clear their HCV infection have a local effect on infection risk and the total number of such nodes (but not their locations) has a network wide effect on the incidence of both primary and re-infection with HCV. Re-infection plays a large role in the effectiveness of treatment interventions. Strategies that choose PWID and treat all their contacts (analogous to ring vaccination) are most effective in reducing the incidence rates of re-infection and combined infection. A strategy targeting infected PWID with the most contacts (analogous to targeted vaccination) is the least effective. Related in: MedlinePlus |
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Mentions: Secondly, except for “naive ring”, an ordering of the strategies using the incidence rate of re-infection is the same as one using the incidence rate of total infection. (Recall that “naive ring” is specifically designed to protect never-infected individuals from infection by treating their contacts.) To better understand the effect of treating nodes but not their infected contacts, and to distinguish the effect of network transmission from the effect of imported infections, Figure 7 shows the average proportion of infections that are network-based (i.e., not imported). The vertical axis shows the proportion of infections in weeks 131 to 156 that are network-based, calculated as the means over 500 simulations per network, then the mean (with 95% confidence interval) over 100 networks. Recall that the number of imported infections in any week depends on the number of susceptibles and the incidence rate of imported infection through equation (1), while the number of network-based infections depends on the number of susceptibles and the number of infected nodes in each susceptible node’s primary contacts. For similar prevalences a higher proportion of network-based infections is a clear sign that a strategy is less effective in reducing transmissions from primary contacts. Unsurprisingly, the strategies that choose nodes at random and ignore the infection status of some (“acq5”) or all (“dec. degree”, “random”) primary contacts see the largest increase in the role of network-based infections. Also notable is the “inc. degree” strategy. At small treatment frequencies, the treated nodes have few contacts and so are at low risk of re-infection. As treatment frequency increases the collection of egos getting treatment grows, and the egos in those collections have increasing numbers of contacts. With more primary contacts comes increased risk of re-infection. The results for “naive ring”, on the other hand, show a comparably larger decrease in the proportion of network-based infections. This is another clear sign that “naive ring” is effectively reducing infections attributable to network transmission. |
View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed
Affiliation: Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.