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J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc. 2019 Aug;58(3):245-251. Korean. Original Article. https://doi.org/10.4306/jknpa.2019.58.3.245
Shin J , Park HY , Kim JL , Lee JJ , Lee H , Lee SH , Shin HS .
Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea. psychepark@gmail.com
Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Chungnam National University, Daejeon, Korea.
Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Dankook University, Cheonan, Korea.
Department of Psychiatry, Seoul Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Psychiatry, National Medical Center, Seoul, Korea. psyhee@hanmail.net
Department of Infectious Disease, National Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.
Abstract

Objectives

Patients with an infectious diseases during an outbreak can experience extreme fear and traumatic events in addition to suffering from their medical illness. This study examined the long-term impact of the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in Korea, 2015 on the mental health of the survivors.

Methods

Sixty-three survivors from MERS were recruited from a prospective cohort study at six hospitals one year after the outbreak in 2015. The Korean-Symptom Check List 95 was administered to evaluate their psychiatric problems and analyzed according to the patient's characteristics and exposure to traumatic events during the outbreak.

Results

A total of 63.5% of survivors suffered from significant psychiatric problems: post-traumatic symptoms (36.5%), sleep problems (36.5%), anxiety (34.9%), and depression (30.2%). Survivors with a history of a ventilator treatment during the MERS epidemic, a family member who died from MERS, and a past psychiatric history showed higher post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and suicidality than people who do not have those histories.

Conclusion

The study suggests that MERS survivors could have a high chance of adverse psychiatric consequences, even after their recovery from MERS. Exposure to traumatic events during the outbreak and premorbid individual vulnerability would affect the long-term mental health problems.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.