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Korean Journal of Epidemiology 2006;28(1): 22-27.
Surveillance System for Communicable Disease in Korea.
Ok Park
Communicable Disease Control Team, Communicable DiseaseSurveillance & Response Center, Korea Centers for DiseaseControl & Prevention, Korea. jade@cdc.go.kr
Korea has experienced sporadic cases or outbreaks of emerging and reemerging infectious diseases since the 1980s. Confirmed outbreaks have included leptospirosis and legionellosis in 1984, HIV infection in 1985, enterohemorrhagic E-coli infection in 1998, staphylococcus aureus infection with decreased vancomycin susceptibility in 1999, brucellosis in 2002, and botulism in 2003. Korea has also suffered from reemerging diseases such as vivax malaria along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) since 1993. Owing to globalization, imported cases of diarrheal diseases, malaria, and dengue have been increasing. In addition, the overall incidence of acute infectious diseases such as shigellosis, scrub typhus, and mumps, which had been decreasing since 1970 until the late 1990s, began to increase again after the late 1990s. The range of emerging and reemerging diseases poses serious public health threats to the public. The Korean government has been striving to build capacity to detect and respond to these infectious disease threats in a timely manner since the late 1990s. For this, the government revised the Communicable Disease Prevention Law, reorganized the government structure for communicable disease control, and developed human resources through field epidemiology and various other training programs. SARS and highly pathogenic avian influenza provided momentum to accelerate these endeavors. Korea has thus far achieved significant improvements in the field of infectious disease surveillance. There are, however, gaps that need to be addressed including insufficient capacity for disease surveillance and response for emerging infectious disease at the local government level, inadequate operation of various surveillance systems, insufficient integration among surveillance systems, and low participation rate for notification among physicians. Therefore, the Korean government plans to improve infectious disease surveillance by implementing the following procedures: establishment of a web-based reporting system, integration of EDI and laboratory surveillance systems, extension of the electronic reporting system to the private sector, continuous development of human resources to build capacity, and enhancement of collaboration with the private sector.
Keywords: Surveillance; Communicable diseases; Korea


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