Date of Award

1-1-2003

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Catherine Comisky

Second Advisor

Dr Malcolm Anderson

Third Advisor

Dr David McDougall

Abstract

The ability of public health planners continues to be hampered by uncertainties encountered with transmissible diseases. Key epidemiological factors such as, how many Western Australian injecting drug users are hepatitis C seropositive or will become infected, duration of intravenous drug use, the intensity of infection, the fraction of those infected that will develop end-stage disease and after how long a period, all combine to limit the ability of a mathematical model to predict future trends. These models can, however, provide information about certain epidemiological parameters and identify data required to predict future trends. They can be applied to make predictions about the course of infection in the individual and provide a guide to the interpretation of the observed data. This research aims to develop a model of the transmission and spread of hepatitis C, adapting existing models used to predict the spread of HIV and AIDS in one and two sex communities. This model will be used to demonstrate the dynamics and incidence of hepatitis C infection among injecting drug users in Perth, Western Australia. Predictions derived from the model will then be used to undertake an analysis of the cost of treating those with hepatitis C and cirrhosis related complications, resulting in a prediction of the financial impact of hepatitis C on the Western Australian community.

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