Molecular Epidemiology of Hepatitis C Virus

  • Alexandra Cochrane
  • Peter Simmonds


Hepatitis C virus, discovered as the cause of non-A non-B hepatitis in 1989, is estimated to infect 3% Of the world population and has become established as the major infectious cause of chronic liver disease in Western countries. HCY is primarily spread by blood contact, and therefore has particularly targeted risk groups such as injecting drug users (IDDs), and recip ients of blood products or unsafe medical interventions. In industrialised nations, infection from blood products has been effectively halted by screening (Schreiber et al., 1996), and injecting drug use is the major risk activity. Current seroprevalence rates within IOU populations range from 30 to 90% (Hope et al., 2001; Macdonald et al., 2000; Taylor et al., 2000; Trepo and Pradat, 1999) and although attempts to control transmission between IDUs through behavioural intervention have had some encouraging results (Goldberg et al., 2001), the rate of spread remains unacceptably high. In nonindustrialised nations the correlates of transmission are less well understood, but unsafe medical injections are thought to playa major role (Sanchez et al., 2000).


Inject Drug User Transmission Network Virus Genotype Nucleotide Substitution Rate Basic Reproductive Number 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandra Cochrane
    • 1
  • Peter Simmonds
    • 1
  1. 1.Virus Evolution Group, Laboratory for Clinical and Molecular VirologyUniversity of Edinburgh, SummerhallEdinburghUK

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