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Volume 3(4); December 2012
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Articleses
A New Statistical Approach to Analyze Plasmodium vivax Malaria Endemic in Korea
Hae-Wol Cho, Chaeshin Chu
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2012;3(4):191-191.   Published online December 31, 2012
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrp.2012.11.004
  • 1,195 View
  • 17 Download
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Spatial and Temporal Distribution of Plasmodium vivax Malaria in Korea Estimated with a Hierarchical Generalized Linear Model
Maengseok Noh, Youngjo Lee, Seungyoung Oh, Chaeshin Chu, Jin Gwack, Seung-Ki Youn, Shin Hyeong Cho, Won Ja Lee, Sun Huh
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2012;3(4):192-198.   Published online December 31, 2012
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrp.2012.11.003
  • 1,495 View
  • 17 Download
  • 10 Citations
AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
The spatial and temporal correlations were estimated to determine Plasmodium vivax malarial transmission pattern in Korea from 2001–2011 with the hierarchical generalized linear model.
Methods
Malaria cases reported to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2001 to 2011 were analyzed with descriptive statistics and the incidence was estimated according to age, sex, and year by the hierarchical generalized linear model. Spatial and temporal correlation was estimated and the best model was selected from nine models. Results were presented as diseases map according to age and sex.
Results
The incidence according to age was highest in the 20–25-year-old group (244.52 infections/100,000). Mean ages of infected males and females were 31.0 years and 45.3 years with incidences 7.8 infections/100,000 and 7.1 infections/100,000 after estimation. The mean month for infection was mid-July with incidence 10.4 infections/100,000. The best-fit model showed that there was a spatial and temporal correlation in the malarial transmission. Incidence was very low or negligible in areas distant from the demilitarized zone between Republic of Korea and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) if the 20–29-year-old male group was omitted in the diseases map.
Conclusion
Malarial transmission in a region in Korea was influenced by the incidence in adjacent regions in recent years. Since malaria in Korea mainly originates from mosquitoes from North Korea, there will be continuous decrease if there is no further outbreak in North Korea.
Dietary Patterns and Osteoporosis Risk in Postmenopausal Korean Women
Seon-Joo Park, Seong-Eun Joo, Haesook Min, Jae Kyung Park, Yeonjung Kim, Sung Soo Kim, Younjhin Ahn
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2012;3(4):199-205.   Published online December 31, 2012
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrp.2012.10.005
  • 1,305 View
  • 15 Download
  • 22 Citations
AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
The prevalence of osteoporosis and related fractures has increased rapidly in Korean women. Proper nutrition intake is associated with the prevention of osteoporosis. We analyzed the association between dietary patterns and the risk of osteoporosis during a 4-year follow-up in postmenopausal Korean women.
Methods
Postmenopausal women (n = 1,725) who participated in the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study were enrolled. Food intake was assessed using a validated semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire, and a quantitative ultrasound device was used to measure the speed of sound at the radius and tibia.
Results
Three major dietary patterns were identified using factor analysis based on baseline intake data: traditional (high intake of rice, kimchi, and vegetables), dairy (high intake of milk, dairy products, and green tea), and western (high intake of sugar, fat, and bread). Multivariate Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate relative risk for osteoporosis. An inverse association was detected between the dairy dietary pattern and the osteoporosis incidence [relative risk (RR): 0.63, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.42–0.93, p-trend=0.055 in radius; RR: 0.56, 95% CI: 0.35–0.90, p-trend=0.048 in tibia]. Individuals in the highest quintile for the traditional dietary pattern (p-trend = 0.009 in tibia) and western dietary pattern (p-trend = 0.043 in radius) demonstrated a higher risk of osteoporosis incidence than those in the lowest quintile.
Conclusion
These results suggested that high consumption of milk, dairy products, and green tea may reduce the risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal Korean women.
Acute Health Effects Among Military Personnel Participating in the Cleanup of the Hebei Spirit Oil Spill, 2007, in Taean County, Korea
Jin Gwack, Ju Hyung Lee, Young Ah Kang, Kyu-jin Chang, Moo Sik Lee, Jee Young Hong
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2012;3(4):206-212.   Published online December 31, 2012
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrp.2012.10.001
  • 1,309 View
  • 16 Download
  • 12 Citations
AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
This study was conducted to investigate acute health effects and its related factors among military personnel participating in the cleanup of the 2007 Hebei Spirit oil spill accident in Taean county, Korea.
Methods
We collected data on acute symptoms during the cleanup and their predictors using a self-administered questionnaire to 2624 military personnel. Selfreported symptoms included six neurologic symptoms, five respiratory symptoms, two dermatologic symptoms, three ophthalmic symptoms, and three general symptoms. Independent variables were demographic factors (gender, age, education level, and rank), health behavioral factors (smoking history and usage of the personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves), and occupational history such as where and for how long individuals participated in cleanup.
Results
The duration of work days was significantly associated with 17 acute symptoms except for itchiness and red skin.Working in Taean county also increased the risk of most acute symptoms except headache and back pain. In regard to personal protective equipment, wearing masks was mainly related to the development of respiratory symptoms such as sore throat and wearing other protective equipment was related to the development of sore throat, back pain, headache, and cough. Military personnel younger than 25 years reported 4.66 times more hot flushing and 5.39 times more itchiness than those older than 25 years.
Conclusion
It should be emphasized that for early-stage cleanup the number of workers should be minimized, sufficient personal protective equipment with approved quality for blocking noxious gas should be supplied, and systematic health care for the workers should be provided. Health effects could be diminished by providing adequate education regarding the appropriate use of protective equipment, especially to nonprofessionals such as residents and volunteers. To make disaster response expeditious, a national and regional preparedness plans and a professional response team for emergency environmental assessment and emergency action should be established beforehand to make prompt decisions.
Prevalence of Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus in Ixodid Ticks Collected from the Republic of Korea During 2011–2012
Seok-Min Yun, Bong Gu Song, WooYoung Choi, Won Il Park, Sung Yun Kim, Jong Yul Roh, Jungsang Ryou, Young Ran Ju, Chan Park, E-Hyun Shin
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2012;3(4):213-221.   Published online December 31, 2012
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrp.2012.10.004
  • 1,514 View
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  • 24 Citations
AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
In this study, we demonstrated that TBEV-infected ticks have been distributed in the ROK, combined with our previous results. These results suggest that TBEV may exist in the ROK, and H. longicornis, H. flava, and I. nipponensis may be potential vectors of TBEV. In addition, these results emphasize the need for further epidemiological research of TBEV.
Methods
We examined for the presence of RNA of TBEV by reverse transcriptase-nested polymerase chain reaction (RT-nested PCR) using ixodid ticks captured in 25 localities of 10 provinces. Ticks were collected by the flagging and dragging method or using sentinel BG traps at forests, grass thickets, and grassland. A total of 13,053 ticks belonging to two genera and four species were collected and pooled (1292 pools), according to collection site, species of tick, and developmental stage.
Results
Among 1292 pools, the envelope (E) protein gene of TBEV was detected using RT-nested PCR in 10 pools (3 pools of the 1,331 adult ticks and 7 pools of the 11,169 nymph ticks) collected from Gangwon-do province, Jeonrabuk-do province, and Jeju Island. The minimum infection rates for TBEV of Haemaphysalis longicornis, Haemaphysalis flava, and Ixodes nipponensis were 0.06%, 0.17%, and 2.38%, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis based on the partial E protein gene was performed to identify relationships between the TBEV strains. This showed that 10 Korean strains clustered with the Western subtype.
Conclusion
In this study, we investigated the prevalence of tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) in ixodid ticks from various regions of the Republic of Korea (ROK) during 2011–2012 to identify whether TBEV is circulating and to determine the endemic regions of TBEV.
Enhanced Type III Secretion System Expression of Atypical Shigella flexneri II:(3)4,7(8)
Sahyun Hong, Injun Cha, Nan-Ok Kim, Seong-Han Kim, Kyung-Tae Jung, Je-Hee Lee, Dong-Wook Kim, Mi-Sun Park, Yeon-Ho Kang
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2012;3(4):222-228.   Published online December 31, 2012
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrp.2012.10.002
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AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
We aimed at evaluating the virulence of atypical Shigella flexneri II:(3)4,7(8) by DNA microarray and invasion assay.
Methods
We used a customized S. flexneri DNA microarray to analyze an atypical S. flexneri II:(3)4,7(8) gene expression profile and compared it with that of the S. flexneri 2b strain.
Results
Approximately one-quarter of the atypical S. flexneri II:(3)4,7(8) strain genes showed significantly altered expression profiles; 344 genes were more than two-fold upregulated, and 442 genes were more than 0.5-fold downregulated. The upregulated genes were divided into the category of 21 clusters of orthologous groups (COGs), and the “not in COGs” category included 170 genes. This category had virulence plasmid genes, including the ipa-mxi-spa genes required for invasion of colorectal epithelium (type III secretion system). Quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction results also showed the same pattern in two more atypical S. flexneri II:(3)4,7(8) strains. Atypical S. flexneri II:(3)4,7(8) showed four times increased invasion activity in Caco-2 cells than that of typical strains.
Conclusion
Our results provide the intracellularly regulated genes that may be important for adaptation and growth strategies of this atypical S. flexneri.
Hematological Evidence of Occupational Exposure to Chemicals and Other Factors among Auto-Repair Workers in Rawalpindi, Pakistan
Atif Kamal, Riffat Naseem Malik
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2012;3(4):229-238.   Published online December 31, 2012
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrp.2012.10.003
  • 1,231 View
  • 19 Download
  • 14 Citations
AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
Occupational exposure to aromatic solvents causes many serious health hazards to workers, especially if an ambient environment increases the exposure during routine working hours. This study was conducted on two related groups, i.e., automobile mechanics (MCs) and automobile spray painters (PNs), with an effort to analyze effects of chemical exposure on hematological parameters, keeping a focus on environmental parameters and workers’ personal behavioral characteristics that could be held responsible for increasing exposure risk.
Methods
A preliminary survey of various chemicals used in these places was done, and 78 blood samples were collected from three groups (control, n = 24; mechanics, n = 25; painters, n = 29). Demographic features of workers were recorded through a short questionnaire.
Results

Results
showed that mean red blood cell (RBC) count was lower both in MCs [t(51) = 2.38, p < 0.021, r = 0.32] and in PNs [t(47) = 2.12, p < 0.03, r = 0.29], whereas mean hemoglobin (Hb) was significantly lower in MCs [t(51) = 2.5, p = 0.017, r = 0.33]. Combined data for exposed groups for smokers (SMs) versus nonsmokers (NSs) showed that SMs had a significantly lower number (RBC count: t(52) = 2.28, p < 0.027, r = 0.25; Hb count: t(52) = 2.71, p < 0.009, r = 0.30] of these parameters than NSs, even compared to the control group. Moreover, logistic regression results showed that smoking is a significant predictor of reduction in RBC and Hb counts, besides occupational exposure and work experience to a little extent among exposed workers. Mean white blood cell count [t(47) = 2.63, p < 0.01, r=0.35], mean corpuscle volume [t(47)= –2.82, p = 0.007, r = 0.29], and packed cell volume [t(47)= –2.28, p = 0.027, r = 31] were higher exclusively in painters, which could be related to exposure to benzene in addition to isocyanate.
Conclusion
It appeared that workplace exposure may be complex due to interaction of multiple factors and PNs face much more exposure to isocyanate and aromatic solvents than MCs, which had significant effects on their hematopoiesis. Smoking enhances exposure risk manifolds, and among MCs it showed combined effects along with occupational exposure. There is a need to create awareness among these workers to adopt self-safety measures during routine tasks and also of a separate study to elucidate actual occupational exposure among them, eliminating confounding factors.
Resistance to Fluoroquinolone by a Combination of Efflux and Target Site Mutations in Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli Isolated in Korea
Jun-Young Kim, Se-Mi Jeon, Hyungjun Kim, Nara Lim, Mi-Sun Park, Seong-Han Kim
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2012;3(4):239-244.   Published online December 31, 2012
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrp.2012.11.002
  • 1,307 View
  • 15 Download
  • 8 Citations
AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC) was recently reported as a major diarrheagenic pathogen in infant and adult travelers, both in developing and developed countries. EAEC strains are known to be highly resistant to antibiotics including quinolones. Therefore in this study we have determined the various mechanisms of quinolone resistance in EAEC strains isolated in Korea.
Methods
For 26 EAEC strains highly resistant to fluoroquinolone, minimal inhibitory concentrations for fluoroquinolones were determined, mutations in the quinolone target genes were identified by PCR and sequencing, the presence of transferable quinolone resistance mechanism were identified by PCR, and the contribution of the efflux pump was determined by synergy tests using a proton pump inhibitor. The expression levels of efflux pump-related genes were identified by relative quantification using real-time PCR.
Results
Apart from two, all tested isolates had common mutations on GyrA (Ser83Leu and Ser87Gly) and ParC (Ser80Gln). Isolates EACR24 and EACR39 had mutations that have not been reported previously: Ala81Pro in ParC and Arg157Gly in GyrA, respectively. Increased susceptibility of all the tested isolates to ciprofloxacin and norfloxacin in the presence of the pump inhibitor implies that efflux pumps contributed to the resistance against fluoroquinolones. Expression of the efflux pump-related genes, tolC, mdfA, and ydhE, were induced in isolates EACR 07, EACR 29, and EACR 33 in the presence of ciprofloxacin.
Conclusion
These results indicate that quinolone resistance of EAEC strains mainly results from the combination of mutations in the target enzyme and an increased expression of efflux pump-related genes. The mutations Ala81Pro in ParC and Arg157Gly in GyrA have not been reported previously the exact influence of these mutations should be investigated further.
Immune Status and Epidemiological Characteristics of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Seroconverters in Korea, 1999–2009
Jin-Sook Wang, Na-young Kim, Hyo Jung Sim, Byeong-Sun Choi, Mee-Kyung Kee
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2012;3(4):245-249.   Published online December 31, 2012
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrp.2012.11.001
  • 1,210 View
  • 18 Download
  • 2 Citations
AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
The detection of HIV seroconverters increased annually since HIV antigen/antibody testing kits have been available widely in South Korea. This study aimed to identify the epidemiological characteristics of HIV seroconverters and their immune level at HIV diagnosis.
Method
We analyzed the epidemiological and immunological characteristics of 341 HIV seroconverters among 6,008 HIV-diagnosed individuals from 1999 and 2009. The analysis of immune level and epidemiological factors of HIV seroconverters was conducted by using chi-square test on SAS version 9.1.
Results
The seroconverters among newly-identified HIV cases each year increased from 0.5% in 1999 to over 5% or in 2009. The sex ratio of seroconverters was 18:1 (male:female), and 33% were in their 30s, and 28% were in their 20s. Reasons for HIV testing were involvement in voluntary test due to risky behaviors (43%), and health check-up (36%). Discovery of HIV infection occurred primarily in hospitals (84%). Among seroconverters, 55 percent had a CD4 T-cell count of more than 350/μl.
Conclusion
Korean HIV seroconverters tended to be younger at diagnosis, diagnosed during a voluntary test, and their CD4+ T-cell counts at HIV diagnosis were higher than those of non-seroconverters aall HIV-infected individuals. This study of HIV seroconverters will be important foundational in future studies on HIV incidence, disease progress, and survival rate.

PHRP : Osong Public Health and Research Perspectives