Division of Viral Hepatitis, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd, Atlanta 30333, GA, USA. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Division of Viral Hepatitis, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd, Atlanta 30333, GA, USA.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a global public health problem. The implementation of public health interventions (PHI) to control HCV infection could effectively interrupt HCV transmission. PHI targeting high-risk populations, e.g., people who inject drugs (PWID), are the most efficient but there is a lack of tools for prioritizing individuals within a high-risk community. Here, we present Intelligent Network DisRuption Analysis (INDRA), a targeted strategy for efficient interruption of hepatitis Ctransmissions.Using a large HCV transmission network among PWID in Indiana as an example, we compare effectiveness of random and targeted strategies in reducing the rate of HCV transmission in two settings: (1) long-established and (2) rapidly spreading infections (outbreak). Identification of high centrality for the network nodes co-infected with HIV or > 1 HCV subtype indicates that the network structure properly represents the underlying contacts among PWID relevant to the transmission of these infections. Changes in the network's global efficiency (GE) were used as a measure of the PHI effects. In setting 1, simulation experiments showed that a 50% GE reduction can be achieved by removing 11.2 times less nodes using targeted vs random strategies. A greater effect of targeted strategies on GE was consistently observed when networks were simulated: (1) with a varying degree of errors in node sampling and link assignment, and (2) at different levels of transmission reduction at affected nodes. In simulations considering a 10% removal of infected nodes, targeted strategies were ~2.8 times more effective than random in reducing incidence. Peer-education intervention (PEI) was modeled as a probabilistic distribution of actionable knowledge of safe injection practices from the affected node to adjacent nodes in the network. Addition of PEI to the models resulted in a 2-3 times greater reduction in incidence than from direct PHI alone. In setting 2, however, random direct PHI were ~3.2 times more effective in reducing incidence at the simulated conditions. Nevertheless, addition of PEI resulted in a ~1.7-fold greater efficiency of targeted PHI. In conclusion, targeted PHI facilitated by INDRA outperforms random strategies in decreasing circulation of long-established infections. Network-based PEI may amplify effects of PHI on incidence reduction in both settings.