Clinical characteristics of tuberculosis in North Korean refugees

Chang Min Choi, Woo Kyoung Jeung, Cheol In Kang, Doh Hyung Kim, Young Keun Kim, Sang Taek Heo, Hee Jin Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: North Korea's economic and public health problems began in the early 1990s as a result of the gradual loss of economic support from its communist allies, combined with an inordinate number of natural disasters. The decline in public health has increased the incidence of tuberculosis in North Koreans and refugees. This study investigated tuberculosis situation in North Korean refugees in order to prepare for the future impact of tuberculosis control in Korea Material and Methods: From 2001 to 2005, tuberculosis patients among North Korean refugees who were diagnosed before or after arriving in South Korea, based on the official records of OO hospital, were enrolled in this study. The demographic and clinical data of the cases were evaluated retrospectively. Results: A total of 42 TB cases were reviewed during the study period Of these, 37 (88.1%) cases were pulmonary TB. based on the cases identified among the number of North Korean refugees' arriving each year, the annual incidence of pulmonary TB were 900 per 100,000 in 2004, 700 in 2003, The number of smear-positive patients was 20 (47.6%) and the number of culture-positive patients was 18 (42.9%). Of the M. tuberculosis isolates, 2 cases were found to be susceptible to all anti-TB drugs available, 4 were resistant to isoniazid, and 3 were multi-drug resistant. Conclusion: The prevalence of pulmonary TB in North Korean Refugees is high. In addition, North Korean refugees suffer from more severe tuberculosis in bacteriological and radiological aspects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-289
Number of pages5
JournalTuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Mar

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Infectious Diseases


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