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HOME > Korean J Prev Med > Volume 1(1); 1968 > Article
Original Article An Observation on the Incidence of Drowning Death in Korea.
Chang Yong Chee, Young Chun Kim, Byung Joo Lee, In Ho Chu
Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health 1968;1(1):79-86
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This paper describes the incidence and some epidemiological features of drowning accident out of a series of our study on the epidemiology of various accidents in Korea. By the daily press it is apparent from the frequent reporting of swimming accidents that the incidence would be high. In the rural areas, there are, at present about 1,250 artificial lakes and farm ponds to be utilized for rice production. The reservoirs, irrigation ditches and riversides are also used for recreation. In most places facilities for aquatic activities is meager, and safety measures for the prevention of drowning is not sufficiently enforced. In the survey crude data on drowning were collected from the concerned governmental statistic books for the period 1955 to 1967 which were compiled not in a uniform way. Drowning were classified into two categories, one is accidental drowning, E929 and the other is due to cataclysm, E934, according to the WHO international classification of diseases. Epidemiological variables in relation to drowning accident were obtained through qualitative analysis of informations from the popular newspapers. The following summary may be drawn; 1. The average number of deaths due to accidental drowning totaled 1,088 annually and the mortality rate per 100,000 population was 3.4. The 42.0% of all drowning were rescued and the remaining were not saved. 2. The sex ration(M/F) of the victims for all ages was 5 to 1, which had a wide range of difference among the age groups. The young ages less than 20 years occupied 68.0% of all deaths. 3. The percentage distribution of the causes of accidents revealed 31.9% for careless swimming, 45.5% for unskilled, 16.6% for swimmer's cramp and 6.0% for drunken. The distribution of places where accidents occurred showed 88.0% for rivers, water reservoirs, irrigation ditches and 12.0% for regular swimming pools. The seasonal distribution of cases indicated 85.0% of the total were seen during the summer months, June-August, and 50.0% of them occurred on Sundays. 4. The average annual deaths due to cataclysm were 402 and mortality rate per 100,000 population was 1.6, but the number of victims due to cataclysm varied greatly each year. 5. The accident cases due to cataclysm were classified into 60.0% for injuries, 40.0% for deaths. The 26.8% of all deaths were missing cases. 6. The deaths due to either accidental drowning or cataclysm totaled 1,490, and the death rate per 100,000 for the whole country was 5.0.

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