Plasmodium vivax malaria among U.S. forces Korea in the Republic of Korea,1993-2007

Terry A. Klein, Laura A. Pacha, Hee Choon S. Lee, Heung Chul Kim, Won Ja Lee, Jong Koo Lee, Gi Gon Jeung, William J. Sames, Joel C. Gaydos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Malaria is a significant health threat to U.S. combat forces that are deployed to malaria-endemic regions. From 1979, when the Republic of Korea (ROK) was declared malaria free, malaria did not present a health threat to U.S. forces deployed to Korea until the early 1990s. In 1993, a temperate strain of vivax malaria expressing both latent (long prepatent incubation periods of usually 6-18 months after infection) and nonlatent (short prepatent incubation periods <30 days after infection) disease reemerged near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) and once again presented a primary health threat to U.S. military populations in the ROK. Following its reemergence, malaria rates increased dramatically through 1998 and accounted for >44% of all malaria cases among U.S. Army soldiers from 1997 to 2002. More than 60% of all Korean-acquired malaria among U.S. soldiers was identified as latent malaria. Nearly 80% of all latent malaria attributed to exposure in Korea was diagnosed in the U.S. or other countries where soldiers were deployed. These data illustrate the requirement for a comprehensive malaria education program, especially for those soldiers residing or training in malaria high-risk areas, to inform soldiers and providers of the risk of developing malaria after leaving Korea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-418
Number of pages7
JournalMilitary Medicine
Volume174
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes

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