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2 "Diseases outbreaks"
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Characteristics and related factors of waterborne and foodborne infectious disease outbreaks before and after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic (2017–2021) in the Republic of Korea: a descriptive study
Eunkyoung Kim, Bryan Inho Kim
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2023;14(6):483-493.   Published online December 14, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.24171/j.phrp.2023.0221
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Objectives
The incidence of waterborne and foodborne infectious diseases (WFIDs) continues to increase annually, attracting significant global attention. This study examined trends in WFID outbreaks in the Republic of Korea over the 5-year period before and during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and provided foundational data to establish measures for the prevention and control of WFID outbreaks. Methods: We analyzed 2,541 WFID outbreaks from 2017 to 2021 (42,805 cases) that were reported through the Integrated Disease Surveillance System of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. Outbreaks were defined as the occurrence of gastrointestinal symptoms in ≥2 individuals within a group with temporal and regional epidemiological associations. The related factors associated with WFID outbreaks during the observation period were statistically analyzed. Results: The total number of WFID outbreaks significantly decreased in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and increased to the pre-pandemic level in 2021. Different patterns were observed for each pathogen. The incidence of Salmonella outbreaks more than doubled, while norovirus outbreaks decreased significantly. Conclusion: WFID outbreaks in the Republic of Korea showed different patterns before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, influenced by infection control measures and changes in dietary consumption patterns. Outbreaks of some diseases increased, but the infection control measures applied during the pandemic resulted in a significant decrease in the overall number of WFID outbreaks. This highlights the importance of strengthening the management strategies for outbreak prevention through hygiene inspections, long-term monitoring, education, and promotion by conducting multidimensional analyses to understand the complex related factors.
The first reported hepatitis E outbreak in a food manufacturing factory: Korea, 2022
Hansol Yeom, Soonryu Seo, Youngsil Yoon, Jaeeun Lee, Myung-Guk Han, Deog-Yong Lee, Sun-Whan Park, Song A Park, Sook-Hyang Jeong, Jin Gwack
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2023;14(1):15-22.   Published online February 22, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.24171/j.phrp.2022.0305
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Graphical AbstractGraphical Abstract AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
On February 16, 2022, 12 cases of hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection were reported in a food manufacturing factory in Korea. The aim of this study was to identify additional cases and to determine the source of this HEV outbreak. Methods: This study was an in-depth investigation of 12 HEV immunoglobulin M (IgM)-positive cases and their demographic, clinical, and epidemiological characteristics. On-site specimens were collected from the environment and from humans, and a follow-up investigation was conducted 2 to 3 months after the outbreak. Results: Among 80 production workers in the factory, 12 (15.0%) had acute HEV infection, all of whom were asymptomatic. The follow-up investigation showed that 3 cases were HEV IgMpositive, while 6 were HEV IgG-positive. HEV genes were not detected in the HEV IgM-positive specimens. HEV genes were not detected in the food products or environmental specimens collected on-site. HEV was presumed to be the causative pathogen. However, it could not be confirmed that the source of infection was common consumption inside the factory. Conclusion: This was the first domestic case of an HEV infection outbreak in a food manufacturing factory in Korea. Our results provide information for the future control of outbreaks and for the preparation of measures to prevent domestic outbreaks of HEV infection.

PHRP : Osong Public Health and Research Perspectives