Population size estimation is critical for planning public health programmes for injection drug users. Estimation is difficult, as these populations are considered 'hidden' or 'hard to reach'. The currently accepted population size estimate for greater Victoria, Canada is between 1,500 and 2,000 individuals, which is dated prior to the year 2000, and is likely an underestimate.
We used three mark-recapture methods (the Lincoln-Petersen estimator, Huggins' model, and Pledger's model) to estimate population size using cross-sectional survey data collected in 2003 and 2005. Data come from a closed population with two time-ordered samples from the same source. We compare our estimates with the currently accepted estimate that is based on the registry of a Victoria needle exchange.
All methods provided population size estimates that were higher than the currently accepted estimate. Huggins' method produced wider confidence intervals. Point estimates of population size from the three methods ranged from 3,329 to 3,342.
Our estimates will aid health authorities in planning for harm reduction programmes. Repeating the methods as further phases of I-Track data become available will ensure that the population estimates remain up to date.
Cites: Biometrics. 2000 Jun;56(2):434-4210877301
Cites: Biometrics. 2003 Dec;59(4):1123-3014969493
Cites: J Health Popul Nutr. 2004 Mar;22(1):19-2615190808
Cites: J Epidemiol Community Health. 2004 Sep;58(9):766-7115310803
Cites: AIDS Educ Prev. 2004 Oct;16(5):389-40415491951
Cites: Epidemiol Rev. 1995;17(2):243-648654510
Cites: Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 1996 Apr;17(4):262-68935735
Cites: Aust N Z J Public Health. 1996 Oct;20(5):493-98987219
Cites: Am J Epidemiol. 1998 Oct 15;148(8):732-409786228