The epidemic behavior of the hepatitis C virus

Pybus OG, Charleston MA, Gupta S, Rambaut A, Holmes EC & Harvey PH

(2001) Science 292, 2323-2325.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a leading worldwide cause of liver disease. Here, we use a new model of HCV spread to investigate the epidemic behavior of the virus and to estimate its basic reproductive number from gene sequence data. We find significant differences in epidemic behavior among HCV subtypes and suggest that these differences are largely the result of subtype-specific transmission patterns. Our model builds a bridge between the disciplines of population genetics and mathematical epidemiology by using pathogen gene sequences to infer the population dynamic history of an infectious disease.

Andrew Rambaut, 2007