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Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health 2005;38(2): 117-124.
Changing Patterns of Communicable Diseases in Korea.
Hyun Sul Lim
Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Dongguk University, Korea. wisewine@dongguk.ac.kr
ABSTRACT
Before twentieth centuries and during early twentieth centuries, communicable diseases were the major cause of morbidity and mortality in Korea. But reliable data are not available. After 1975, the overall morbidity and mortality from communicable diseases, rapidly declined. Recently many new pathogenic microbes were recognized: L. monocytogenes, Hantaan virus, Y. pseudotuberculosis, P. multocida, L. pneumophilia, Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), G. seoi, H. capsulatum, C. burnetii, V. cholerae O139, C. parvum, F. tularensis, E. coli 0157: H7, B. burgdorferi, S. Typhimurium DT104, Rotavirus, hepatitis C virus and so on. Since the first HIV infection recognized in 1985, the reported cases of infection and deaths from HIV/AIDS have been steady increased each year. Legionnaire's disease, E. coli O157: H7 colitis, listeriosis and crytosporidiasis have been occurring just sporadically among immunocompromized cases. Many re-emerging communicable diseases were occurred in Korea: leptospirosis, malaria, endemic typhus, cholera, tsutsugamushi disease, salmonellosis, hepatitis A, shigellosis, mumps, measles, acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis, brucellosis and so on. Leptospirosis and tsutsugamushi diseases have been noticed as major public health problems since 1980s. The malaria that had been8 virtually disappeared for a decade has reappeared from 1993 with striking increase of patients in recent 3-4 years. The distributions of salmonella and shigella serotypes have been changed a lot in recent few decades. Furthermore rapid emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains induces more difficult and complex problems in control of communicable diseases. We must recognize on the importance of environment and ecosystem conservation and careful prescription of anti-microbial agent in order to prevent communicable diseases.
Key words: Communicable diseases; Emerging; Zoonoses; Disease outbreaks
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