Go to contents

Korea`s TB fatality rate highest among OECD members

Posted March. 23, 2001 17:48,   


An average of 6.7 out of every 100,000 Koreans died of tuberculosis (TB) in 1999, the highest rate among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The United States recorded only one TB death per 100,000 people, Britain and France had two and Japan three. Marking World Tuberculosis Day on Friday, the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Korean National Tuberculosis Association said that 3,000 people died from TB in 1999, accounting for 57.2 percent of all deaths from infectious diseases.

As of last December, TB cases in Korea were estimated at more than 79,000 and 38.5 percent of the victims were found to be in their 20s or 30s, a pattern typical of underdeveloped countries. In the wake of the recent financial crisis, homeless people and illegal aliens, in particular, are at higher risk of contracting the disease, the NIH said. The agency blamed the problem on waning social awareness and reduced budgets for TB control.

About one out of 10 of those infected become full-fledged TB patients. TB is an airborne disease and can be fatal if left untreated. It claims the lives of about half of those infected unless timely medical attention is given.

Kim Joon-Seok kjs359@donga.com