Infection rate of Leptospira interrogans in the field rodent, Apodemus agrarius, in Korea. (1/3461)

Leptospirosis has significantly decreased in Korea since 1988, following the leptospiral vaccination programme initiated in 1988. Whether this wholly explains the decreased incidence is uncertain. As an initial step to answer this question, infection rates of Leptospira interrogans in field rodents, Apodemis agrarius, were examined and compared with previous data. Two hundred and twenty-two A. agrarius were captured during October-December 1996. Spirochaetes were isolated from 22 (9.9%) and leptospiral DNA was detected in an additional 6 rodents (12.6%). Subsequent microscopic agglutination tests (MAT) classified all these isolates as L. interrogans serogroup Icterohaemorrhagiae serovar lai. The above data did not significantly differ from previous surveys in 1984-7. There was no significant change of L. interrogans infection in field rodents following the introduction of the vaccination programme in Korea. Further studies are needed to determine the role of human vaccination in reducing incidence.  (+info)

Screening of Korean forest plants for rat lens aldose reductase inhibition. (2/3461)

Naturally occurring substances which can prevent and treat diabetic complications were sought by examining ethanol extracts prepared from Korean forest plants for their inhibitory effects on rat lens aldose reductase activity in vitro. Among the plants examined, Acer ginnala, Illicium religiosum and Cornus macrophylla exerted the most strong inhibitory activity on aldose reductase.  (+info)

Special medical examination program reform proposal in Korea. (3/3461)

We are at a time when reform in the special medical examination program in keeping with the changing times is desperately needed because the common perception of workers, employers, and medical examination facilities is "special medical examination is merely ritualistic and unproductive." Therefore, we have tried to set forth the basic structure for reforming the special medical examination program by taking a close look at the management status of the current program and analyzing its problems. The specifics of the special medical examination program reform proposal consist of three parts such as the types, health evaluation based on occupational medicine, and the interval, subject selection, items and procedure. Pre-placement medical examination and non-periodic medical examinations-as-necessary are introduced newly. Health evaluation based on occupational medicine consists of classification of health status, evaluation of work suitability, and post-examination measure. Details regarding the medical examination interval, subject selection, items and procedure were changed.  (+info)

The efforts of WHO and Pugwash to eliminate chemical and biological weapons--a memoir. (4/3461)

The World Health Organization and the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs (Nobel Peace Prize 1995) have been involved in questions concerning chemical and biological arms since the early 1950s. This memoir reviews a number of milestones in the efforts of these organizations to achieve the elimination of these weapons through international treaties effectively monitored and enforced for adherence to their provisions. It also highlights a number of outstanding personalities who were involved in the efforts to establish and implement the two major treaties now in effect, the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972 and the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993.  (+info)

Bacterial resistance to antimicrobial agents: an overview from Korea. (5/3461)

Antimicrobial resistance of bacteria has become a worldwide problem. Available data suggest that the resistance problem is comparatively more serious in Korea. In large hospitals, the proportion of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has been reported at over 70%, and of penicillin-nonsusceptible Streptococcus pneumoniae at around 70%. Infection or colonization of vancomycin-resistant enterococci has started to increase. Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase producing Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae has become widespread and even carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa has been increasing. Community-acquired pathogens such as Salmonella, Shigella and Neisseria gonorrhoeae are often resistant to various antimicrobial agents. The prevalence of resistant bacteria can lead to erroneous empirical selection of either noneffective or expensive drugs, prolonging hospitalization and higher mortality. The emergence and spread of resistant bacteria are unavoidable unless antimicrobial agents are not used at all. The high prevalence of resistant bacteria in Korea seems to be related to antibiotic usage: 1) easy availability without prescription at drug stores, 2) injudicious use in hospitals, and 3) uncontrolled use in agriculture, animal husbandry, and fisheries. Nosocomial infection is an important factor in the spread of resistant bacteria. Antimicrobial resistance problems should be regarded as the major public health concern in Korea. It is urgently required to ban the sale of antibiotics without prescription, to use antibiotics more judiciously in hospitals by intensive teaching of the principles of the use of antibiotics, and to establish better control measures of nosocomial infections. Regulation of antimicrobials for other than human use should also be required. These issues are not easy to address and require the collective action of governments, the pharmaceutical industry, health care providers, and consumers.  (+info)

The characteristics of extended-spectrum beta-lactamases in Korean isolates of Enterobacteriaceae. (6/3461)

Extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs) in gram-negative organisms have been implicated as the enzymes responsible for resistance to oxyimino-cephalosporins. The incidence of ESBL-producers in Korean isolates of Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae were in the range of 4.8-7.5% and 22.5-22.8%, respectively. The ESBL-producing isolates revealed variable levels of resistance to cefotaxime, ceftazidime and aztreonam. They also showed the elevated MIC values of non-beta-lactam antibiotics. SHV-12 and SHV-2a were the enzymes most frequently found in K. pneumoniae strains, but TEM-52 was the most prevalent in E. coli isolates. About 15% of ESBL-producing isolates of Enterobacteriaceae produced CMY-1 enzyme, which conferred resistance to cephamycins such as cefoxitin as well as oxyimino-cephalosporins. Thus, the most common types of ESBLs in Korea are TEM-52, SHV-12 SHV-2a, and CMY-1.  (+info)

Emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance of Streptococcus pneumoniae in Korea. (7/3461)

Pneumococcal resistance has become a global issue during the past three decades. One of the major foci of pneumococcal resistance worldwide is the Asian region including Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong. Korea had not been recognized as a focus of pneumococcal resistance until 1995, when serial reports documented the alarmingly high prevalence of penicillin resistance among clinical isolates. Serial reports on penicillin resistance among pneumococcal isolates in Korea ranged from 68% to 77% as of 1995. Multidrug resistance was also noted in 34% of Korean isolates. Penicillin-binding protein profile analysis, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, ribotyping, and fingerprinting analysis of pbp genes showed that antibiotic-resistant pneumococci isolated in Korea were genetically related. Data documented the extensive spread of a resistant clone within Korea and between different countries. Besides the injudicious use of antimicrobial agents or the high prevalence of serotypes 23 and 19, the spread of a resistant clone may play an important role in the rapid increase of penicillin resistance in Korea.  (+info)

Vancomycin-resistant enterococcal infections in Korea. (8/3461)

Enterococci recently became the second-to-third most commonly isolated organism from nosocomial infections. Enterococci are intrinsically more resistant to many antimicrobial agents and often show acquired resistance to many antimicrobial agents including high-level aminoglycosides. With the increased use of vancomycin, vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) has become an important nosocomial pathogen. In Korea, the proportion of VRE among all enterococcal of VRE is no longer low in some settings and recent observations of a sudden increase of VRE isolation in several hospitals in Korea suggests that VRE infection may become a serious problem in the near future. The most important considerations are that vancomycin-resistant genes may spread to other highly virulent genera, such as MRSA, and that there are no approved and convincingly effective antibiotics for the treatment of VRE. Therefore, current efforts have concentrated on limiting the spread of these organisms within the hospital environment. Prudent use of antimicrobial agents and strict adherence to preventive measures such as aggressive communication, education, and infection control practices are essential to control the spread of this organism. However, hospital infection control protocols and the laboratory support they require are costly in terms of space and supplies, as well as in personnel resources. These factors add further pressure to already stretched hospital budgets. Nevertheless, policies or programs defining and managing VRE infection or colonization should be established and now is the time to enforce an overall management strategy against VRE.  (+info)