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In BMC public health ; h5-index 82.0

BACKGROUND : Hepatitis C virus (HCV) causes life-threatening chronic infections. Implementation of novel, economical or widely available screening tools can help detect unidentified cases and facilitate their linkage to care. We investigated the relationship between chronic HCV infection and a potential complete blood count biomarker (the monocyte-to-platelet ratio) in the United States.

METHODS : The analytic dataset was selected from cycle years 2009-2016 of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Complete case data- with no missingness- was available for n = 5281 observations, one-hundred and twenty-two (n = 122) of which were exposed to chronic HCV. The primary analysis used survey-weighted logistic regression to model the effect of chronic HCV on the monocyte-to-platelet ratio adjusting for demographic and biological confounders in a causal inference framework. Missing data and propensity score methods were respectively performed as a secondary and sensitivity analysis.

RESULTS : In the analytic dataset, outcome data was available for n = 5281 (n = 64,245,530 in the weighted sample) observations of which n = 122 (n = 1,067,882 in the weighted sample) tested nucleic acid positive for HCV. Those exposed to chronic HCV infection in the United States have 3.10 times the odds of a high monocyte-to-platelet ratio than those not exposed (OR = 3.10, [95% CI: 1.55-6.18]).

CONCLUSION : A relationship exists between chronic HCV infection and the monocyte-to-platelet ratio in the general population of the United States. Reversing the direction of this association to predict chronic HCV infection from complete blood counts, could provide an economically feasible and universal screening tool, which would help link patients with care.

Nikiforuk Aidan M, Karim Mohammad Ehsanul, Patrick David M, Jassem Agatha N


Causal inference, Diagnostic screening, Hepacivirus C, Machine learning, Viral hepatitis