Historical review of leptospirosis in the Korea (1945 - 2015)

Min Ja Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Leptospirosis is a widespread worldwide zoonosis. Human leptospirosis was first identified in the Korea in 1984 as the cause of “epidemic pulmonary hemorrhagic fever of unknown etiology” that occurred sporadically or in outbreaks. The major outbreaks, leading to some deaths, mainly involved rice field farmers who worked in wet and muddy rice paddies following floods or heavy rainfalls. Leptospirosis was designated a nationally notifiable disease in 1987. The Korean government introduced a supplementary immunization program to control the disease from 1988 to 1997, which provided people at risk in endemic areas with the inactivated vaccine prepared from a local strain Leptospira interrogans serovar Lai. In addition, the continuous promotion of education and awareness in the media played a role in improving personal hygiene management. Since then, the reported incidence of leptospirosis has been low. Leptospirosis is currently considered in the differential diagnosis of acute febrile illnesses occurring in fall. This study historically reviews clinical and epidemiological publications, scientific reports, and public health policies for recognition, identification, and infection control of human leptospirosis in the Korea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-329
Number of pages15
JournalInfection and Chemotherapy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Communicable diseases
  • History
  • Korea
  • Leptospira
  • Leptospirosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Historical review of leptospirosis in the Korea (1945 - 2015)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this