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2 "Capture-recapture"
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Using the capture-recapture method to estimate the human immunodeficiency virus-positive population
Jalal Poorolajal, Younes Mohammadi, Farzad Farzinara
Epidemiol Health. 2017;39:e2017042.   Published online October 10, 2017
  • 10,711 View
  • 217 Download
  • 10 Citations
AbstractAbstract PDF
The capture-recapture method was applied to estimate the number of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive individuals not registered with any data sources.
This cross-sectional study was conducted in Lorestan Province, in the west of Iran, in 2016. Three incomplete sources of HIV-positive individuals, with partially overlapping data, were used, including: (a) transfusion center, (b) volunteer counseling and testing centers (VCTCs), and (c) prison. The 3-source capture-recapture method, using a log-linear model, was applied for data analysis. The Akaike information criterion and the Bayesian information criterion were used for model selection.
Of the 2,456 HIV-positive patients registered in these 3 data sources, 1,175 (47.8%) were identified in transfusion center, 867 (35.3%) in VCTCs, and 414 (16.8%) in prison. After the exclusion of duplicate entries, 2,281 HIV-positive patients remained. Based on the capture-recapture method, 14,868 (95% confidence interval, 9,923 to 23,427) HIV-positive individuals were not identified in any of the registries. Therefore, the real number of HIV-positive individuals was estimated to be 17,149, and the overall completeness of the 3 registries was estimated to be around 13.3%.
Based on capture-recapture estimates, a huge number of HIV-positive individuals are not registered with any of the provincial data sources. This is an urgent message for policymakers who plan and provide health care services for HIV-positive patients. Although the capture-recapture method is a useful statistical approach for estimating unknown populations, due to the assumptions and limitations of the method, the population size may be overestimated as it seems possible in our results.
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Citations to this article as recorded by  
  • Improving HIV stigma in the marginalized population in Khorramabad, Iran: A single-blinded randomized, controlled educational trial using role-playing and lecturing
    Mina Jomezadeh, Fereshteh Zamani-Alavijeh, Forugh Aleebrahim, Maryam Nasirian, Kavitha Saravu
    PLOS Global Public Health.2023; 3(3): e0000689.     CrossRef
  • Estimación de casos de VIH no diagnosticados en la región Cajamarca, Perú: vinculación probabilística entre bases de datos
    Hans Ramón Quiroz-Ruiz, Omar Daniel Pairazamán-Quiroz, Diego Enrique Quiroz-Villanueva, Hernán Daniel Cornejo-Pacherres, Fiorella Nathalí Hernández-Palomino, Azucena Angélica Cruzado-Montero, Jorge Enrique Bazán-Mayra, Eduardo Miranda-Ulloa
    Ciência & Saúde Coletiva.2023; 28(6): 1843.     CrossRef
  • Using capture‐recapture methods to estimate influenza hospitalization incidence rates
    Goundappa K. Balasubramani, Mary Patricia Nowalk, Lloyd G. Clarke, Klancie Dauer, Fernanda Silveira, Donald B. Middleton, Mohamed Yassin, Richard K. Zimmerman
    Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses.2022; 16(2): 308.     CrossRef
  • Using Capture–Recapture Methodology to Enhance Precision of Representative Sampling-Based Case Count Estimates
    Robert H Lyles, Yuzi Zhang, Lin Ge, Cameron England, Kevin Ward, Timothy L Lash, Lance A Waller
    Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology.2022; 10(5): 1292.     CrossRef
  • Population Size Estimation From Capture-Recapture Studies Using shinyrecap: Design and Implementation of a Web-Based Graphical User Interface
    Anne F McIntyre, Ian E Fellows, Steve Gutreuter, Wolfgang Hladik
    JMIR Public Health and Surveillance.2022; 8(4): e32645.     CrossRef
  • Estimating the number of farms experienced foot and mouth disease outbreaks using capture-recapture methods
    Chalutwan Sansamur, Anuwat Wiratsudakul, Arisara Charoenpanyanet, Veerasak Punyapornwithaya
    Tropical Animal Health and Production.2021;[Epub]     CrossRef
  • Epidemiologic characteristics of orthopedic surgical site infections and under-reporting estimation of registries using capture-recapture analysis
    Niloufar Taherpour, Yadollah Mehrabi, Arash Seifi, Babak Eshrati, Seyed Saeed Hashemi Nazari
    BMC Infectious Diseases.2021;[Epub]     CrossRef
  • National and subnational size estimation of female sex workers in Ghana 2020: Comparing 3-source capture-recapture with other approaches
    Chris Guure, Samuel Dery, Seth Afagbedzi, Waimar Tun, Sharon Stucker Weir, Silas Quaye, Augustine Ankomah, Kwasi Torpey, Georges Nguefack-Tsague
    PLOS ONE.2021; 16(9): e0256949.     CrossRef
  • A Review of Capture-recapture Methods and Its Possibilities in Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences
    Pedro Lima Ramos, Inês Sousa, Rui Santana, William H Morgan, Keith Gordon, Julie Crewe, Amândio Rocha-Sousa, Antonio Filipe Macedo
    Ophthalmic Epidemiology.2020; 27(4): 310.     CrossRef
  • Size of the Adult HIV-Infected Population Adjusted for the Unreported AIDS Mortality in the Santa Catarina State, Brazil, 2008-2017
    Larissa Hermes Thomas Tombini, Emil Kupek
    Current HIV Research.2019; 17(4): 277.     CrossRef
Estimation of the Frequency of Intravenous Drug Users in Hamadan City, Iran, Using the Capture-recapture Method
Salman Khazaei, Jalal Poorolajal, Hossein Mahjub, Nader Esmailnasab, Mohammad Mirzaei
Epidemiol Health. 2012;34:e2012006.   Published online October 31, 2012
  • 12,817 View
  • 100 Download
  • 6 Citations
AbstractAbstract PDF

The number of illicit drug users is prone to underestimation. This study aimed to use the capture-recapture method as a statistical procedure for measuring the prevalence of intravenous drug users (IDUs) by estimating the number of unknown IDUs not registered by any of the registry centers.


This study was conducted in Hamadan City, the west of Iran, in 2012. Three incomplete data sources of IDUs, with partial overlapping data, were assessed including: (a) Volunteer Counseling and Testing Centers (VCTCs); (b) Drop in Centers (DICs); and (c) Outreach Teams (ORTs). A log-linear model was applied for the analysis of three-sample capture-recapture results. Two information criteria were used for model selection including Akaike's Information Criterion and the Bayesian Information Criterion.


Out of 1,478 IDUs registered by three centers, 48% were identified by VCTCs, 32% by DICs, and 20% by ORTs. After exclusion of duplicates, 1,369 IDUs remained. According to our findings, there were 9,964 (95% CI, 6,088 to 17,636) IDUs not identified by any of the centers. Hence, the real number of IDUs is expected to be 11,333. Based on these findings, the overall completeness of the three data sources was around 12% (95% CI, 7% to 18%).


There was a considerable number of IDUs not identified by any of the centers. Although the capture-recapture method is a useful and practical approach for estimating unknown populations, due to the assumptions and limitations of the method, the results must be interpreted with caution.

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Citations to this article as recorded by  
  • The prevalence of opioid use disorder in Kentucky’s counties: A two-year multi-sample capture-recapture analysis
    Katherine Thompson, Joshua A. Barocas, Chris Delcher, Jungjun Bae, Lindsey Hammerslag, Jianing Wang, Redonna Chandler, Jennifer Villani, Sharon Walsh, Jeffery Talbert
    Drug and Alcohol Dependence.2023; 242: 109710.     CrossRef
  • Estimating the Population Size of Female Sex Worker Population in Tehran, Iran: Application of Direct Capture–Recapture Method
    Manoochehr Karami, Salman Khazaei, Jalal Poorolajal, Alireza Soltanian, Mansour Sajadipoor
    AIDS and Behavior.2017; 21(8): 2394.     CrossRef
  • Using the capture-recapture method to estimate the human immunodeficiency virus-positive population
    Jalal Poorolajal, Younes Mohammadi, Farzad Farzinara
    Epidemiology and Health.2017; 39: e2017042.     CrossRef
  • Estimation of perinatal mortality rate for institutional births in Rajasthan state, India, using capture-recapture technique
    P. K. Mony, B. Varghese, T. Thomas
    BMJ Open.2015; 5(3): e005966.     CrossRef
  • Estimating the size of the population of persons who inject drugs in the island of Montréal, Canada, using a six-source capture–recapture model
    Pascale Leclerc, Alain C. Vandal, Aïssatou Fall, Julie Bruneau, Élise Roy, Suzanne Brissette, Chris Archibald, Nelson Arruda, Carole Morissette
    Drug and Alcohol Dependence.2014; 142: 174.     CrossRef
  • Heterogeneity and behavioral response in continuous time capture–recapture, with application to street cannabis use in Italy
    Alessio Farcomeni, Daria Scacciatelli
    The Annals of Applied Statistics.2013;[Epub]     CrossRef

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