Republic of Korea is still endangered by outbreak of infectious diseases that causes great burdens on health care system, although average life expectancy and overall mortality rate tended to improve. This study identifies the trends of changes in mortality and economic burden of infectious diseases.
Data from health care statistics of the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (2009-2019) and Korean Statistics Information Service (1997-2019) were used. We selected 10 infectious disease groups (intestinal infections, tuberculosis, vaccine-preventable diseases, sepsis, viral hepatitis, HIV-related diseases, central nervous system infections, rheumatic heart diseases, respiratory tract infections and arthropod-borne viral diseases).
The age-standardized mortality rate for infectious diseases increased from 27.2 per 100,000 population in 1997 to 37.1 per 100,000 population in 2019 and had upward trend since 2004. It had significant increase in respiratory tract infections and among elderly persons especially, age≥85 years during the same period. The costs for infectious diseases increased to 6,612 million USD in 2019 from 4,126 million USD in 2009. The largest proportion of the costs was observed in respiratory tract infections as 3,699 million USD in 2019 (69%). The annual cost per patient who visited hospital for infectious diseases increased from 131 USD in 2009 to 204 USD in 2019.
The mortality rate among elderly persons and persons with respiratory tract infections tended to increase during study period. The economic burden of infectious diseases has consistently increased, especially in respiratory tract infections. It is therefore essential to establish an effective management policy considering particular infectious diseases and patient group.