Spatial mapping of hepatitis C prevalence in recent injecting drug users in contact with services

Epidemiol Infect. 2012 Jun;140(6):1054-63. doi: 10.1017/S0950268811001634. Epub 2011 Aug 30.


In developed countries the majority of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections occur in injecting drug users (IDUs) with prevalence in IDUs often high, but with wide geographical differences within countries. Estimates of local prevalence are needed for planning services for IDUs, but it is not practical to conduct HCV seroprevalence surveys in all areas. In this study survey data from IDUs attending specialist services were collected in 52/149 sites in England between 2006 and 2008. Spatially correlated random-effects models were used to estimate HCV prevalence for all sites, using auxiliary data to aid prediction. Estimates ranged from 14% to 82%, with larger cities, London and the North West having the highest HCV prevalence. The methods used generated robust estimates for each area, with a well-identified spatial pattern that improved predictions. Such models may be of use in other areas of study where surveillance data are sparse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hepatitis C / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis C / etiology*
  • Hepatitis C Antibodies / blood
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / complications*
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / epidemiology*
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Hepatitis C Antibodies