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Long, Jean (2008) Health Protection Surveillance Centre annual report 2006. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 25, Spring 2008, p. 25.

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The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) annual report was published in December 2007.1 The centre collates data on cases of infectious diseases, including those that are notifiable. Three infections are of particular importance in injecting drug users – HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. The number of HIV cases and their characteristics were reported in a previous issue of Drugnet Ireland.2

Hepatitis C became a notifiable disease in 2004. In recent years, hepatitis C was primarily transmitted in Ireland through sharing equipment used to prepare and inject illicit drugs. The numbers of cases notified each year between 2004 and 2006 are reasonably high (Table 1). Seventy-five per cent of cases were reported by HSE services in Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow. Sixty-four per cent of cases were male and 71% were aged between 25 and 44 years. Risk factor data were not available for the cases recorded in these years, but theprofile of cases corresponds with that of injecting drug users. The HPSC will collect risk factor data from 2007 onwards.
Hepatitis B is a vaccine-preventable disease which is transmitted through contact with blood or body fluids of an infected person. The main routes of transmission are mother-to-baby, child-to-child, sexual contact and unsafe injections. The number of cases notified to the HPSC increased each year between 1996 and 2005, and decreased by 8% in 2006. There were 820 cases in 2006, of whom 668 had a chronic infection, 93 had an acute infection and the disease status of 59 cases was unknown. Risk factor data have been reported since 2004 but the number of cases for which they are reported is very low. There is little specific data about hepatitis B among injecting drug users. 
1. Health Protection Surveillance Centre (2007) Annual Report 2006. Dublin: Health Service Executive.
2. Long J (Autumn 2007) New data on the incidence of HIV. Drugnet Ireland. Issue 23: 15.
Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Issue Title
Issue 25, Spring 2008
Page Range
p. 25
Health Research Board
Issue 25, Spring 2008
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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