Experiences of latent tuberculosis infection treatment for the North Korean refugees

Beong Ki Kim, Hee Jin Kim, Ho Jin Kim, Jae Hyung Cha, Jin Beom Lee, Jeonghe Jeon, Chi Young Kim, Young Kim, Je Hyeong Kim, Chol Shin, Seung Heon Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Tuberculosis (TB) is increasing in immigrants. We aimed to investigate the current status of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) treatment for North Korean Refugees (NKR) compared to South Koreans Contacts (SKC). Methods: TB close contacts in a closed facility of SKC and NKR who underwent LTBI screening in a settlement support center for NKR were analyzed retrospectively. Results: Among tuberculin skin test (TST) ≥10 mm (n=298) reactors, the males accounted for 72.2% in SKC (n=126) and 19.5% in NKR (n=172) (p<0.01). The mean age was higher in South Korea (42.8±9.9 years vs. 35.4±10.0 years, p<0.01). Additionally, the mean TST size was significantly bigger in NKR (17.39±3.9 mm vs. 16.57±4.2 mm, p=0.03). The LTBI treatments were initiated for all screened NKR, and LTBI completion rate was only 68.0%. However, in NKR, LTBI treatment completion rate was significantly increased by shorter 4R regimen (odds ratio [OR], 9.296; 95% confidence interval [CI], 4.159–20.774; p<0.01) and male (OR, 3.447; 95% CI, 1.191–9.974; p=0.02). Conclusion: LTBI treatment compliance must be improved in NKR with a shorter regimen. In addition, a larger study regarding a focus on LTBI with easy access to related data for NKR should be conducted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-310
Number of pages5
JournalTuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Asian continental ancestry group
  • Interferon-gamma release tests
  • Latent tuberculosis infection
  • Refugees
  • Therapeutics
  • Tuberculin test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Infectious Diseases


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