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Original Articles
Infectious Disease Physicians’ Perspectives Regarding the Management of and Countermeasures against the Pandemic Influenza (H1N1 2009) in Korea
Baek-Nam Kim
Department of Internal Medicine, Inje University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
Vol.42 Num.2 (p64~68)
Background: The 2009 pandemic influenza (H1N1 2009) virus spread rapidly to the community after being introduced in Korea since late April, 2009. According to the health authority’s revised management guideline, most of major private and public hospitals are required to take part in the medical care of pandemic influenza patients since 21 August, 2009. This questionnaire survey was conducted to identify Infectious Disease physicians’ perspectives on issues related to the management of the 2009 pandemic influenza in Korea.
Materials and Mthods: A 13-item questionnaire was e-mailed to 118 physicians who were board certified in Infectious Disease in November 2009. Respondents were asked about their opinion on diagnosis and treatment of influenza, and response to the pandemic influenza (H1N1 2009).
Results: The response rate was 69.5%. Of the respondents, 51.2% believed that they could make a diagnosis of influenza on clinical grounds. Most indicated that a laboratory testing is needed for the management of the pandemic and seasonal influenza (80.5% and 82.7%, respectively). Regarding the use of rapid influenza antigen test, 70.7% reported that it might be beneficial in the care of pandemic influenza patients when results are properly interpreted, and 82.9% claimed that its use during influenza seasons could reduce unnecessary antibiotic usage. These opinions were significantly higher among those who had seen more than 100 pandemic influenza patients (P=0.008 and 0.03, respectively). Evaluation using an 11-point numeric rating scale showed that respondents only moderately supported the policies and guidelines of the public health authority (mean score±standard deviation, 5.4±1.99). In view of confronting and solving the pandemic influenza (H1N1 2009), the contribution of mass media and doctors’ representative organization on public health was rated as 3.5±1.89 and 3.7±1.83, respectively. The validity of media reports on the pandemic influenza was assessed as 3.3±1.71.
Conclusions: Most respondents acknowledged the need for laboratory diagnosis in the case management of suspected influenza infection. They regarded overall reactions of both governmental and non-governmental sectors in Korea to the pandemic influenza (H1N1 2009) as relatively unsatisfactory or modest at best. The results of this study showed that improvement is necessary in responses to this pandemic influenza and future seasonal influenza.
Keywords : Influenza, Influenza A (H1N1), Pandemic, Questionnaire