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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
  • 1,573 View
  • 17 Download
  • 13 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.
Brief Report
Trends in Water- and Foodborne Disease Outbreaks in Korea, 2007–2009
Jin Gwack, Kyoung-Chan Lee, Hyo Jin Lee, Wooseok Kwak, Dong Woo Lee, Yeon Hwa Choi, Jin Seok Kim, Young Ah Kang
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2010;1(1):50-54.   Published online December 31, 2010
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrp.2010.12.011
  • 1,686 View
  • 13 Download
  • 14 Citations
AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
In Korea, every outbreak of acute gastroenteritis in two or more patients who are epidemiologically related is investigated by local public health centres to determine causative agents and control the outbreak with the support of the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings and conclusions of each outbreak investigation have been summarized annually since 2007 to make reports and statistics of water- and foodborne disease outbreaks.
Methods
All outbreaks reported to Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2007 to 2009 were included in the study. We analysed the trends and epidemiologic aspects of outbreaks by month, year, and location.
Results
The total number of outbreaks decreased steadily each year for the period the study covered, whereas the number of patients per outbreak continued to increase resulting from a dramatic increase in the number of patients per outbreak in food service establishments. The outbreaks occurred in the period of June to September, when temperature and humidity are relatively high, which accounted for 44.3% of total outbreaks. The monthly number of outbreaks decreased steadily until November after peaking in May 2009. The most common causative agent was norovirus (16.5%) followed by pathogenic Escherichia coli. The rate of causative agent identification was 60.1%, with higher identification rates in larger outbreaks.
Conclusions
Although a decreasing trend of outbreaks by year was observed in the study, the food services in schools and companies require more attention to hygiene and sanitation to prevent large outbreaks. The ability to establish the cause of an outbreak should be further improved.

PHRP : Osong Public Health and Research Perspectives