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J Korean Med Sci. 2018 Nov 14;33(49):e314. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2018.33.e314. eCollection 2018 Dec 3.

Estimation of the National Burden of Disease and Vulnerable Population Associated with Natural Disasters in Korea: Heavy Precipitation and Typhoon.

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Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea.



Despite its growing significance, studies on the burden of disease associated with natural disasters from the perspective of public health were few. This study aimed at estimating the national burden of disease associated with typhoons and torrential rains in Korea.


During the period of 2002-2012, 11 typhoons and five torrential rains were selected. Mortality and morbidities were defined as accentual death, injury and injury-related infection, and mental health. Their incidences were estimated from National Health Insurance Service. Case-crossover design was used to define the disaster-related excess mortality and morbidity. Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) were directly assessed from excess mortality and morbidity.


The burden of disease from typhoons increased with the intensity, with 107.7, 30.6, and 36.6 DALYs per 100,000 per event for strong, moderate, and weak typhoons, respectively. Burden of disease from torrential rains were 56.9, 52.8, and 26.4 DALYs per 100,000 per event for strong, moderate, and weak episodes, respectively. Mental disorders contributed more years lived with disability (YLDs) than did injuries in most cases, but the injury-induced YLDs associated with strong typhoon and torrential rain were higher than those of lower-intensity. The elderly was the most vulnerable to most types of disaster and storm intensities, and males younger than 65 years were more vulnerable to a strong torrential rain event.


The intensity of torrential rain or typhoon was the strongest determinant of the burden of disease from natural disasters in Korea. Population vulnerable may vary depending on the nature and strength of the disasters.


Case-Crossover Design; Cyclone; Disability-Adjusted Life Years; Flooding; Natural Disaster; Vulnerability

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