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Original Articles
Household secondary attack rates and risk factors during periods of SARS-CoV-2 Delta and Omicron variant predominance in the Republic of Korea
Jin Lee, Mijeong Ko, Seontae Kim, Dosang Lim, Gemma Park, Sang-Eun Lee
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2023;14(4):263-271.   Published online August 11, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.24171/j.phrp.2023.0133
  • 504 View
  • 75 Download
AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
The household secondary attack rate (SAR) of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is an important indicator for community transmission. This study aimed to characterize transmission by comparing household SARs and identifying risk factors during the periods of Delta and Omicron variant predominance in Republic of Korea.
Methods
We defined the period of Delta variant predominance (Delta period) as July 25, 2021 to January 15, 2022, and the period of Omicron variant predominance (Omicron period) as February 7 to September 3, 2022. The number of index cases included was 214,229 for the Delta period and 5,521,393 for the Omicron period. To identify the household SARs and risk factors for each period, logistic regression was performed to determine the adjusted odds ratio (aOR).
Results
The SAR was 35.2% for the Delta period and 43.1% for the Omicron period. The aOR of infection was higher in 2 groups, those aged 0 to 18 years and ≥75 years, compared to those aged 19 to 49 years. Unvaccinated individuals (vs. vaccinated individuals) and individuals experiencing initial infection (vs. individuals experiencing a second or third infection) had an increased risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2.
Conclusion
This study analyzed the household SARs and risk factors. We hope that the results can help develop age-specific immunization plans and responses to reduce the SAR in preparation for emerging infectious diseases or potential new variants of SARS-CoV-2.
Risk factors for transmission in a COVID-19 cluster infection in a high school in the Republic of Korea
Jin-Hwan Jeon, Su Jin Kang, Se-Jin Jeong, Hyeon-Cheol Jang, Young-Joon Park, Sang-Eun Lee
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2023;14(4):252-262.   Published online July 27, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.24171/j.phrp.2023.0125
  • 2,204 View
  • 124 Download
AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
This study aimed to examine the scale, characteristics, risk factors, and modes of transmission in a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak at a high school in Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Methods
An epidemiological survey was conducted of 1,118 confirmed cases and close contacts from a COVID-19 outbreak at an educational facility starting on May 31, 2021. In-depth interviews, online questionnaires, flow evaluations, and CCTV analyses were used to devise infection prevention measures. Behavioral and spatial risk factors were identified, and statistical significance was tested.
Results
Among 3rd-year students, there were 33 confirmed COVID-19 cases (9.6%). Students who used a study room in the annex building showed a statistically significant 4.3-fold elevation in their relative risk for infection compared to those who did not use the study room. Moreover, CCTV facial recognition analysis confirmed that 17.8% of 3rd-year students did not wear masks and had the lowest percentage of mask-wearers by grade. The air epidemiological survey conducted in the study room in the annex, which met the 3 criteria for a closed space, confirmed that there was only 10% natural ventilation due to the poor ventilation system.
Conclusion
To prevent and manage the spread of COVID-19 in educational facilities, advance measures that consider the size, operation, and resources of each school are crucial. In addition, various survey methodologies should be used in future studies to quickly analyze a wider range of data that can inform an evidence-based quarantine response.
Estimating the number of severe COVID-19 cases and COVID-19-related deaths averted by a nationwide vaccination campaign in Republic of Korea
Ji Hae Hwang, Ju Hee Lee, Eun Jung Jang, Ryu Kyung Kim, Kil Hun Lee, Seon Kyeong Park, Sang Eun Lee, Chungman Chae, Sangwon Lee, Young Joon Park
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2023;14(3):164-172.   Published online June 22, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.24171/j.phrp.2023.0096
  • 604 View
  • 66 Download
Graphical AbstractGraphical Abstract AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency promotes vaccination by regularly providing information on its benefits for reducing the severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This study aimed to analyze the number of averted severe COVID-19 cases and COVID-19-related deaths by age group and quantify the impact of Republic of Korea’s nationwide vaccination campaign.
Methods
We analyzed an integrated database from the beginning of the vaccination campaign on February 26, 2021 to October 15, 2022. We estimated the cumulative number of severe cases and COVID-19-related deaths over time by comparing observed and estimated cases among unvaccinated and vaccinated groups using statistical modeling. We compared daily age-adjusted rates of severe cases and deaths in the unvaccinated group to those in the vaccinated group and calculated the susceptible population and proportion of vaccinated people by age.
Results
There were 23,793 severe cases and 25,441 deaths related to COVID-19. We estimated that 119,579 (95% confidence interval [CI], 118,901–120,257) severe COVID-19 cases and 137,636 (95% CI, 136,909–138,363) COVID-19-related deaths would have occurred if vaccination had not been performed. Therefore, 95,786 (95% CI, 94,659–96,913) severe cases and 112,195 (95% CI, 110,870–113,520) deaths were prevented as a result of the vaccination campaign.
Conclusion
We found that, if the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination campaign had not been implemented, the number of severe cases and deaths would have been at least 4 times higher. These findings suggest that Republic of Korea’s nationwide vaccination campaign reduced the number of severe cases and COVID-19 deaths.
Brief Report
Temporal association between the age-specific incidence of Guillain-Barré syndrome and SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in Republic of Korea: a nationwide time-series correlation study
Hyunju Lee, Donghyok Kwon, Seoncheol Park, Seung Ri Park, Darda Chung, Jongmok Ha
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2023;14(3):224-231.   Published online June 22, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.24171/j.phrp.2023.0050
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Graphical AbstractGraphical Abstract AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
The incidence of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) changed significantly during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Emerging reports suggest that viral vector-based vaccines may be associated with an elevated risk of GBS.
Methods
In this nationwide time-series correlation study, we examined the age-specific incidence of GBS from January 2011 to August 2022, as well as data on severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccinations and infections from February 2021 to August 2022. We compared the forecasted estimates of age-specific GBS incidence, using the pre-SARS-CoV-2 period as a benchmark, with the actual incidence observed during the post-vaccination period of the pandemic. Furthermore, we assessed the temporal association between GBS, SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations, and COVID-19 for different age groups.
Results
In the age group of 60 and older, the rate ratio was significantly elevated during June-August and November 2021. A significant, strong positive association was observed between viral vector-based vaccines and GBS incidence trends in this age group (r=0.52, p=0.022). For the 30 to 59 years age group, the rate ratio was notably high in September 2021. A statistically significant, strong positive association was found between mRNA-based vaccines and GBS incidence in this age group (r=0.61, p=0.006).
Conclusion
Viral vector-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccines were found to be temporally associated with an increased risk of GBS, particularly in older adults. To minimize age-specific and biological mechanism-specific adverse events, future vaccination campaigns should adopt a more personalized approach, such as recommending homologous mRNA-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccines for older adults to reduce the heightened risk of GBS.
Original Articles
The COVID-19 pandemic and healthcare utilization in Iran: evidence from an interrupted time series analysis
Monireh Mahmoodpour-Azari, Satar Rezaei, Nasim Badiee, Mohammad Hajizadeh, Ali Mohammadi, Ali Kazemi-Karyani, Shahin Soltani, Mehdi Khezeli
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2023;14(3):180-187.   Published online June 22, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.24171/j.phrp.2023.0041
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Graphical AbstractGraphical Abstract AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
This study aimed to examine the effect of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak on the hospitalization rate, emergency department (ED) visits, and outpatient clinic visits in western Iran.
Methods
We collected data on the monthly hospitalization rate, rate of patients referred to the ED, and rate of patients referred to outpatient clinics for a period of 40 months (23 months before and 17 months after the COVID-19 outbreak in Iran) from all 7 public hospitals in the city of Kermanshah. An interrupted time series analysis was conducted to examine the impact of COVID-19 on the outcome variables in this study.
Results
A statistically significant decrease of 38.11 hospitalizations per 10,000 population (95% confidence interval [CI], 24.93–51.29) was observed in the first month of the COVID-19 outbreak. The corresponding reductions in ED visits and outpatient visits per 10,000 population were 191.65 (95% CI, 166.63–216.66) and 168.57 (95% CI, 126.41–210.73), respectively. After the initial reduction, significant monthly increases in the hospitalization rate (an increase of 1.81 per 10,000 population), ED visits (an increase of 2.16 per 10,000 population), and outpatient clinic visits (an increase of 5.77 per 10,000 population) were observed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Conclusion
Our study showed that the utilization of outpatient and inpatient services in hospitals and clinics significantly declined after the COVID-19 outbreak, and use of these services did not return to pre-outbreak levels as of June 2021.
Results of contact tracing for SARS-CoV-2 Omicron sub-lineages (BA.4, BA.5, BA.2.75) and the household secondary attack risk
Mi Yu, Sang-Eun Lee, Hye Young Lee, Hye-jin Kim, Yeong-Jun Song, Jian Jeong, Ae Kyung Park, Il-Hwan Kim, Eun-jin Kim, Young-Joon Park
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2023;14(3):173-179.   Published online June 22, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.24171/j.phrp.2022.0285
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Graphical AbstractGraphical Abstract AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
This study aimed to assess the contact tracing outcomes of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Omicron sub-lineages BA.4, BA.5, and BA.2.75 within Republic of Korea, and to generate foundational data for responding to future novel variants.
Methods
We conducted investigations and contact tracing for 79 confirmed BA.4 cases, 396 confirmed BA.5 cases, and 152 confirmed BA.2.75 cases. These cases were identified through random sampling of both domestically confirmed and imported cases, with the goal of evaluating the pattern of occurrence and transmissibility.
Results
We detected 79 instances of Omicron sub-lineage BA.4 across a span of 46 days, 396 instances of Omicron sub-lineage BA.5 in 46 days, and 152 instances of Omicron sub-lineage BA.2.75 over 62 days. One patient with severe illness was confirmed among the BA.5 cases; however, there were no reports of severe illness in the confirmed BA.4 and BA.2.75 cases. The secondary attack risk among household contacts were 19.6% for BA.4, 27.8% for BA.5, and 24.3% for BA.2.75. No statistically significant difference was found between the Omicron sub-lineages.
Conclusion
BA.2.75 did not demonstrate a higher tendency for transmissibility, disease severity, or secondary attack risk within households when compared to BA.4 and BA.5. We will continue to monitor major SARS-CoV-2 variants, and we plan to enhance the disease control and response systems.
Vaccine effectiveness and the epidemiological characteristics of a COVID-19 outbreak in a tertiary hospital in Republic of Korea
Seonhee Ahn, Tae Jong Son, Yoonsuk Jang, Jihyun Choi, Young Joon Park, Jiseon Seong, Hyun Hee Kwon, Muk Ju Kim, Donghyok Kwon
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2023;14(3):188-196.   Published online June 8, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.24171/j.phrp.2023.0066
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Graphical AbstractGraphical Abstract AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
Healthcare facilities are high-risk sites for infection. This study analyzed the epidemiological characteristics of a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in a tertiary hospital after COVID-19 vaccination had been introduced in Republic of Korea. Vaccine effectiveness (VE) and shared anti-infection strategies are also assessed.
Methods
The risk levels for 4,074 contacts were evaluated. The epidemiological characteristics of confirmed cases were evaluated using the chi-square test. The “1 minus relative risk” method was used to determine VE in preventing infection, progression to severe disease, and death. In the largest affected area (the 8th floor), a separate relative risk analysis was conducted. A multivariate logistic regression analysis (with 95% confidence interval [CIs]) was used to identify transmission risk factors with a significance level <10% via the backward elimination method.
Results
In total, 181 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed, with an attack rate of 4.4%. Of those cases, 12.7% progressed to severe disease, and 8.3% died. In the cohort isolation area on the 8th floor, where 79.0% of the confirmed cases occurred, the adjusted odds ratio was 6.55 (95% CI, 2.99–14.33) and 2.19 (95% CI, 1.24–3.88) for caregivers and the unvaccinated group, respectively. VE analysis revealed that 85.8% of the cases that progressed to severe disease and 78.6% of the deaths could be prevented by administering a second vaccine.
Conclusion
Caregiver training for infection prevention and control is necessary to reduce infection risk. Vaccination is an important intervention to reduce the risk of progression to severe disease and death.
Risk factors for COVID-19 outbreaks in livestock slaughtering and processing facilities in Republic of Korea
Seongju Choi, Tae Jong Son, Yeon-Kyung Lee
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2023;14(3):207-218.   Published online June 8, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.24171/j.phrp.2023.0035
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Graphical AbstractGraphical Abstract AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
The goal of this study was to help prevent and control the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) by identifying transmission routes and risk factors in livestock slaughtering and processing facilities (SPFs) and establishing an optimal intervention strategy for outbreaks.
Methods
This case series study was a demographic analysis of patients with confirmed COVID-19 associated with 5 SPFs in Korea between January and June 2021. Additionally, in a retrospective cohort study, the association between COVID-19 infection and risk factors was analyzed for SPFs at which outbreaks occurred.
Results
The COVID-19 attack rates were 11.2%, 24.5%, and 6.8% at 3 poultry SPFs (PSPFs) and 15.5% and 25.2% at 2 mammal SPFs (MSPFs). Regarding spatial risk factors, the COVID-19 risk levels were 12.1-, 5.2-, and 5.0-fold higher in the refrigeration/ freezing, by-product processing, and carcass cutting areas, respectively, than in the office area. The risk of COVID-19 infection was 2.1 times higher among employees of subcontractors than among employees of contractors. The COVID-19 risk levels were 5.3- and 3.0-fold higher in foreign workers than in native Korean workers in the PSPFs and MSPFs, respectively.
Conclusion
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, a detailed policy for infectious disease prevention and control intervention is needed, without interrupting economic activities. Thus, we propose an ideal intervention plan to prevent COVID-19 through disinfection and preemptive testing and to block its transmission through effective contact management during outbreaks at SPFs.
Short Communication
Correlations between regional characteristics of counties and the ratio of intracounty to extracounty sources of COVID-19 in Gangwon Province, Republic of Korea
Seungmin Jeong, Chaeyun Lim, Sunhak Bae, Youngju Nam, Eunmi Kim, Myeonggi Kim, Saerom Kim, Yeojin Kim
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2023;14(3):219-223.   Published online June 8, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.24171/j.phrp.2023.0014
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  • 23 Download
Graphical AbstractGraphical Abstract AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
This study aimed to examine the correlations between the regional characteristics of counties in Gangwon Province, Republic of Korea and the ratio of intracounty to extracounty sources of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection.
Methods
The region of the infectious contact was analysed for each COVID-19 case reported in Gangwon Province between February 22, 2020 and February 7, 2022. The population, population density, area, the proportion of urban residents, the proportion of older adults (>65 years), financial independence, and the number of adjacent counties were assessed for each of the 18 counties in Gangwon Province. Correlation coefficients between regional characteristics and the ratio of intracounty to extracounty infections were calculated.
Results
In total, 19,645 cases were included in this study. The population, population density, proportion of older adults, and proportion of urban residents were significantly correlated with the ratio of intracounty to extracounty infections. A stratified analysis with an age cut-point of 65 years showed that the proportion of older adults had a significant negative correlation with the ratio of intracounty to extracounty infections. In other words, the proportions of extracounty infections were higher in countries with higher proportions of older adults.
Conclusion
Regions with ageing populations should carefully observe trends in infectious disease outbreaks in other regions to prevent possible transmission.
Original Articles
Effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine in the Honam region of the Republic of Korea
In-Sook Shin, Yong-Pyo Lee, Seung-Hoon Lee, Jae-Young Lee, Jong-Ha Park, Yoon-Seok Chung
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2023;14(3):197-206.   Published online June 8, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.24171/j.phrp.2022.0308
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Graphical AbstractGraphical Abstract AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
In 2021, the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine was analyzed among people living in the Honam region (Gwangju, Jeollanam-do, Jeollabuk-do, and Jeju) of the Republic of Korea. And we investigated changes in the dominant virus strain.
Methods
This study used the data provided by the Korean Ministry of the Interior and Safety for individuals ≥12 years old in the Honam region, and the Integrated Disease and Health Management System of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for COVID-19-vaccinated individuals as of December 31, 2021. Statistical analyzes were performed using IBM SPSS ver. 23.0. The occurrence of confirmed cases by vaccination status, the relative risk, and vaccine effectiveness by vaccine type were calculated.
Results
In 2021, the COVID-19 vaccination rate in Honam was 88.6%. The overall vaccine effectiveness (after 2 and 3 doses) was 98.7% (p<0.001). and the breakthrough infection rate was 0.16%. From week 21 to week 27 of 2021 (June 27 to July 3), the genome sequencing results were mostly alpha variants. The Delta variant emerged as the dominant variant after 27 weeks and the Omicron variant was found at 50 weeks (December 5–11).
Conclusion
Vaccine effectiveness changed with the outbreak of new variants of the virus as well as over time as antibody levels decreased. that the prevention effectiveness of vaccination in Honam was >98%, and the effect among persons who received 2 doses was >90% regardless of the vaccine type. Although vaccine effectiveness decreased because of reduced antibody levels over time (as observed in breakthrough infections), receiving a booster dose restored the neutralizing antibody levels.
The incidence and clinical characteristics of myocarditis and pericarditis following mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccination in Republic of Korea adolescents from July 2021 to September 2022
Ju-Young Sim, Seung-Yun Kim, Eun-Kyoung Kim
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2023;14(2):76-88.   Published online April 18, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.24171/j.phrp.2023.0032
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  • 1 Citations
Graphical AbstractGraphical Abstract AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
Age-specific information regarding myocarditis/pericarditis in adolescents following mRNA-based coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination in Asia remains insufficient. This study investigated the incidence and clinical characteristics of myocarditis/pericarditis in Republic of Korea adolescents after mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccination.
Methods
This retrospective descriptive study utilized patient data from the Korea Immunization Management System. Incidence rates were calculated according to age and sex. Clinical characteristics (symptoms/signs, laboratory values, and imaging results) were compared between mild and severe cases.
Results
Between July 19, 2021 and September 30, 2022, 3,728,224 individuals aged 12 to 19 years received 6,484,165 mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines, and 173 cases met the case definition for myocarditis/pericarditis: 151 mild (87.3%) and 22 severe (12.7%). The incidence was 3.8-fold higher in males than in females. Troponin I/ troponin T was elevated in 96% of myocarditis cases, demonstrating higher sensitivity than creatine kinase-myocardial band (67.6%) or C-reactive protein (75.2%). ST-segment or Twave on electrography abnormalities were found in 60.3% (85/141). Paroxysmal/sustained atrial/ventricular arrhythmias were more common in severe than in mild cases (45.5% vs. 16.8%, p=0.008). Edema on T2-weighted magnetic imaging occurred in 21.6% (8/37) and 62.5% (5/8) of mild and severe cases, respectively (p=0.03). Abnormal pericardial fluid collection or pericardial inflammation was found in 75.4% of pericarditis cases (49/65).
Conclusion
Myocarditis/pericarditis occurred in rare cases following mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccination. Most cases were mild, but the incidence was higher in adolescent males and after the second dose. As bivalent severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 mRNA vaccination started in Republic of Korea in October 2022, the post-vaccination incidence of myocarditis/pericarditis should be closely monitored, considering clinical characteristics.

Citations

Citations to this article as recorded by  
  • To become a more stronger and safer country
    Jong-Koo Lee
    Osong Public Health and Research Perspectives.2023; 14(2): 67.     CrossRef
Risk factors for deaths associated with COVID-19 according to the cause of death classification in Republic of Korea
Na-Young Kim, Seong-Sun Kim, Hyun Ju Lee, Dong Hwi Kim, Boyeong Ryu, Eunjeong Shin, Donghyok Kwon
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2023;14(2):89-99.   Published online April 18, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.24171/j.phrp.2022.0312
  • 791 View
  • 76 Download
Graphical AbstractGraphical Abstract AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
This study aimed to classify coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related deaths according to whether COVID-19 was listed as the cause of death, and to investigate the differences in demographic characteristics and risk factors for COVID-19 death classifications.
Methods
A total of 5,625 deaths in South Korea among patients with confirmed COVID-19 from January 20, 2020 to December 31, 2021 were selected. Excluding false reports and unnatural deaths, 5,597 deaths were analyzed. Based on death report data, deaths were classified according to whether the cause of death was listed as COVID-19 (CD) or not (NCD). The epidemiological characteristics and causes of deaths were investigated using descriptive, univariate, and multivariate statistical analyses. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated to analyze the risk factors.
Results
The case fatality ratio was 0.89% and increased with age. Additionally, 96.4% of the subjects had an underlying disease, and 53.4% died in winter. The proportion of NCDs was 9.3%, of whom 19.1% died at home and 39.0% were confirmed to have COVID-19 after death. Malignant neoplasms (102/416 vs. 637/4,442; OR, 1.71; 95% CI, 1.36−2.16; p<0.001) were significantly associated with NCD.
Conclusion
This is the first study to analyze risk factors by cause of death using COVID-19 death report data in South Korea. These results are expected to be used as evidence for establishing a death monitoring system that can collect timely information in a new infectious disease pandemic.
Analysis of pregnant women with critically severe COVID-19 in Republic of Korea from February 2020 and December 2021
Ji Joo Lee, Sang-Eun Lee, Yeonjung Kim, Young-Joon Park
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2023;14(2):129-137.   Published online April 5, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.24171/j.phrp.2023.0025
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Graphical AbstractGraphical Abstract AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
This study aimed to describe the characteristics and risk factors for severe disease in pregnant women infected with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) from the early days of the COVID-19 epidemic in Korea to the predominant period of the Delta variant.
Methods
A retrospective cohort study was conducted among pregnant women diagnosed with COVID-19 between February 2020 and December 2021. Logistic regression analysis was performed to compare severe and mild cases after adjusting for pregnant women’s age, nationality, infection route, outbreak area, infection period, symptoms, underlying disease, smoking status, trimester, and COVID-19 vaccination status.
Results
In total, 2,233 pregnant women were diagnosed with COVID-19 by December 2021. Among these, 96.7% had mild symptoms, 3.3% had severe symptoms, and 0.04% died. The risk factors for severe disease in pregnant women with confirmed COVID-19 were being in the age group of 35 to 45 years, having hyperlipidemia, being in the second or third trimester of pregnancy at the time of COVID-19 diagnosis, being infected during the Delta-predominant period, and having a fever (≥38 °C) at diagnosis. Furthermore, 47.1% of patients in the mild group and 84.9% of patients in the severe group had 3 or more risk factors.
Conclusion
Pregnant women with COVID-19 mainly experienced mild symptoms, but those with risk factors were at a higher risk of developing severe symptoms. Therefore, treatment and follow-up management should be thoroughly implemented.
COVID-19 outbreak in a religious village community in Republic of Korea and risk factors for transmission
Jiae Shim, Eunju Lee, Eunyoung Kim, Yeonhwa Choi, Giseok Kang, Bryan Inho Kim
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2023;14(2):110-118.   Published online April 5, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.24171/j.phrp.2023.0002
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Graphical AbstractGraphical Abstract AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
This study aimed to assess the scale and transmission patterns of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in a religious village community in South Korea, to determine the risk factors of transmission, and to evaluate vaccine effectiveness.
Methods
An epidemiological survey was conducted, and data were collected and analyzed from 602 villagers in the religious village community. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to identify the risk factors for COVID-19 transmission and to evaluate vaccine effectiveness.
Results
The outbreak attack rate was 72.1% (434/602). The attack rate was high among women in their 60s, the unemployed, residents living near religious facility (<500 m), and the unvaccinated. Age, the distance between religious facility and residences, and the absence of vaccination were identified as risk factors for transmission. Vaccine effectiveness was 49.0%, and the highest effectiveness was seen in the age group of 59 years or younger (65.8%).
Conclusion
This village community was isolated, with little communication with the outside world. However, the frequency of close contact between residents was relatively high, contributing to the spread of COVID-19 in the village even with relatively short exposure. Vaccination rates in the village community were also lower than those in the general public. Public health authorities should consider the potential impact of cultural factors, including religion, that could lead to the exponential spread of COVID-19 in closed village communities.
Vaccine hesitancy in patients with COVID-19 who have back pain
Askeri Türken, Haşim Çapar
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2023;14(2):100-109.   Published online March 24, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.24171/j.phrp.2023.0003
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Graphical AbstractGraphical Abstract AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
Musculoskeletal pain is among the most common symptoms in patients diagnosed with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and it has placed a significant burden on health worldwide during the pandemic. This study explored vaccine hesitancy and associated factors in patients with positive COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction test results who were hospitalized and had back pain.
Methods
A cross-sectional study was conducted among 170 hospitalized COVID-19 patients over 18 years of age. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics with IBM SPSS ver. 25.0.
Results
COVID-19 patients who were married considered COVID-19 vaccinations riskier than unmarried COVID-19 patients. Patients who had not been vaccinated expressed higher levels of distrust towards COVID-19 vaccines than patients who had been vaccinated. Participants had relatively little hesitation toward the Sinovac vaccine. High vaccine confidence was found in all participants regardless of vaccination status. Those who had not received the COVID-19 vaccine reported higher risk perceptions than those who had received at least 1 dose of any COVID-19 vaccine.
Conclusion
Measurements of the hesitancy of vaccinated and non-vaccinated patients or members of society towards vaccines can be an important parameter for health authorities to find solutions.

PHRP : Osong Public Health and Research Perspectives