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Scand J Infect Dis. 2013 May;45(5):390-6. doi: 10.3109/00365548.2012.749423. Epub 2012 Dec 14.

The economic burden of the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza in Korea.

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Department of Public Health, Graduate School of Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.



Although there have been numerous studies concerning the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza, limited data are available on the economic burden of the pandemic. The present study was undertaken to help policy makers prepare for future H1N1 pandemics.


We assessed the socioeconomic burden of the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza that infected 3,082,113 patients in South Korea, which represents 6.6% of the population of South Korea. Data were obtained from the National Health Insurance Claims database using claims submitted from 1 August 2009 to 31 July 2010. Costs were converted to United States dollars (US$).


The annual socioeconomic costs of the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza were US$1.09 billion (0.14% of the national GDP). Direct costs included US$322.6 million (29.6% of total costs) of direct medical costs, with an additional US$105.4 million (9.7% of total cost) of direct non-medical costs. The indirect costs totaled US$662.5 million (60.8% of total cost). The economic impact was much higher for men than for women due to the fact that indirect costs were 2.2-times higher because of the higher male wage. Also direct medical costs peaked for patients in the children and adolescent groups.


These findings demonstrate the socioeconomic burden associated with the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza in Korea and can be used for future pandemic planning.

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