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Korean J Prev Med. 1998 Aug;31(3):540-563. Korean. Original Article.
Whang CY , Ohr HC , Lee DH , Park KD , Lee JK .
Minstry of Health and Welfare, Korea.
Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Korea.

This Study has been carried out to make a recommendation for the next amendment of the Infectious Disease Prevention Act with a specific focus on the kind of notifiable disease. Korean, Japanese, German, U.S, English and French acts on infectious diseases prevention were reviewed, compared with and analyzed in regards of numbers and kinds of notifiable infectious diseases and their tendency of amendments. An criteria was designed to assess the level of validity of diseases to be designated in the act. Four items, the fatality (greater than 10% or not), the possibility to make a big epidemic, the availability of efficient vaccination and the usefulness of isolation, are used in the assessment. This index is applied to the diseases in Korean and other countries' Infectious Disease Prevention Acts. Results are as follows : 1. The Korean Infectious Disease Prevention Act has a unique way of classifying the notifiable infectious disease, that is, the first, the second and the third class. But the author cannot find the basis of classification. No other countries reviewed have the similar classification. 2. The ten diseases, cholera, plague, yellow fever, diphtheria, typhoid fever, poliomyelitis, rabies, tetanus, malaria, and meningococcal meningitis are designated as the notifiable diseases not only in Korea but also in Japan, Germany, United States, England and France. 3. Thirty seven diseases including small pox, Lassa fever, anthrax, influenza, German measles, Legionellosis, infection with E. coli O157:H7, Q-fever, brucellosis, Lyme disease are designated as legal disease at least one of the above mentioned countries. 4. The Korea has been coped with the change of the infectious disease occurrence for last fifty years in amendment of the Infectious Disease Prevention Act. 5. Japan has a special infectious surveillance system composed of 3,880 clinics throughout the whole country. 6. Germany has classified infectious diseases in five categories which are based on seriousness of disease. Any confirmed death, cases and suspected cases in class I should be reported within 24 hours. But only confirmed death and cases in class II, but not suspected cases, are repotable in Germany. 7. Plague, bacillary dysentery, pertussis, mumps, Japanese encephaltis and Korean hemorrhagic fevers are diseases with high credits validity index among Korean legal disease. 8. German measles, anthrax, E. coli O157:H7 infection, Lassa fever, Q-fever, brucellosis are high in validity index among those which are not designated in Korea but designated in other countries. In conclusion, the Korean Infectious Disease Prevention Act has well been coped with the changes of infectious disease occurrence for last fifty years, but the classification basis and the validity of diseases to be designated as legal diseases is worth reevaluating.

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