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Infect Chemother. 2009 Feb;41(1):42-53. Korean. Original Article.
Park JW , Hong JY , Yeom JS , Cho SR , Oh DK .
Department of Microbiology, Gachon Medical School, Incheon, Korea.
Department of Preventive Medicine, Gachon Medical School, Incheon, Korea.
Health Policy Division, Ministry of National Defense, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Internal Medicine, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

BACKGROUND: Vivax malaria had spread rapidly in areas adjacent to the Demilitarized Zone to reach more than 4,000 cases in 2000 in the Republic of Korea (ROK). After year 2000, annual cases decreased rapidly to reach less than 1,000 cases in 2004. However, the number increased again since 2005. Epidemiological characteristics of vivax malaria in the ROK are different before and after 2000. This article was aimed to evaluate the current status of malaria elimination project in the ROK for providing suggestions for its improvement. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We analyzed the total reported malaria cases during 2005 to 2007 and reviewed the record on the malaria eradication project performed by the authorizations including the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention. RESULTS: During 2005 to 2007, 45% of all the vivax malaria occurred in patients living in the non-prevalent areas; the interval between first symptom onset and diagnosis was longer in the non-prevalent areas compared to that in the prevalent areas. Education and publicity on malaria has not been properly performed in the non-prevalent areas. The military didn't take part in the control of the malaria infected discharged soldiers, most of whom might have been infected with malaria during their military service. CONCLUSION: For the efficient control of malaria and thus improving the effectiveness of the elimination project, education and publicity on malaria in the non-prevalent areas should be strengthened and cooperation between private and military sector regarding the ex-soldiers infected with malaria is essential. In addition, there should be bilateral communication among malaria-related teams within the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and also among all the malaria-related sectors. Furthermore, a common database on malaria patients and vector mosquitoes should be formed to grant access to all the malaria-related sectors. Improvement on report and surveillance system is also necessary.

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