Tuberculosis is one of the major public health problem in Korea.
The extent of the tuberculosis problem in Korea has been proved to be serious in both rural and urban areas by the first and second nation wide prevalence surveys conducted in 1965 and 1970. The survey in 1970 showed that the tuberculin positive rate was 64.8%, the prevalence rate of radiological suspect was 4.2% and the estimated total number of tuberculosis suspects in the whole country was 1.12 million.
Children are more susceptible to tuberculosis than adults because of decreased resistance and tuberculosis is particularly dangerous in infancy when it is liable to progress to meningeal and miliary tuberculosis.(Narain et al, 1970)
In order to have some information about the extent of the tuberculosis problem in the pediatric age group, a tuberculosis survey was performed for some rural and urban areas in Korea during the period of July, 1971 to June, 1972.
Sample selection and total number in each area were as follows;
Studied area were divided into urban and rural areas. The urban area(Seoul city) was again divided to a high economic area(families in Han Kang mansion apartment :229 and Chung-am primary school:542) and a low economic area(families in Yon-hee
dong:281 and Hong-je primary school:1,293). The rural area also divided into mountainous area(families:252 and primary school:618 in Kang Won Do) and farm area(families:267 and primary school:446 in Chulla Buk Do). So a total number of 3,928 were studied for the tuberculosis survey.
Tuberculin tests were carried out and the tuberculin used was PPD RT 23 with tween 80 with 5TU dose in 0.1ml.
All children with positive and doubtful positive tuberculin test were subjected to chest miniature photofluorography(70mm).
The following results were obtained from this study
1) Among the 3,928 children, 3,843 completed tuberculin test with a total response rate of 97.8%.
2) In areas surveyed the positive rate of tuberculin reaction average 18.7%
In the proportion of positive reactors by each area the low economic area(Seoul) revealed the highest with 23.2% while the mountainous area(Gang Won Do)revealed the lowest with 12.3%.
3) IN the primary school survey the percentage of tuberculin positive reactors by school grade was first grade 15.8%; second grades, 16.2%;third grades, 20.2% fourth grades, 20.2%; fifth grades, 25,2%; sixth grades, 8.5%.
4) Of all children with positive and doubtful positive tuberculin test examined, 4.7% were diagnosed as active pulmonary tuberculosis by chest x-ray.
The percentages of pulmonary tuberculosis by each area were 7.7% in the high economic area(Seoul), 6.4% in the mountainous area(Gang Won Do), 4.2% in the low economic area(Seoul) and 0.0% in the farm area(Chulla Buk Do)in order of frequency.