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1.  Epidemiology of Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome in Endemic Area of the Republic of Korea, 1995-1998 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2006;21(4):614-620.
We conducted an epidemiologic study to understand temporal and spatial patterns of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) in the Republic of Korea (ROK). We estimated the incidence among civilians in endemic areas through the active surveillance system during the major epidemic periods, from September to December, between 1996 and 1998. We also estimated the prevalence among Korean military personnel from 1995 to 1998. In addition, we assessed seroprevalence, subclinical infection rate, and vaccination rates in both civilians and military personnel. The incidence in civilians ranged from 2.1 to 6.6 per 100,000 person-months. The annual prevalence in the military personnel was 40-64 per 100,000 military populations, and remained generally constant throughout the study period with seasonal variation. This is the prospective epidemiologic data set on HFRS in the ROK since the inactivated Hantaan virus vaccine was licensed for use in the late 1990s. These results will be invaluable in establishing a national immunization program against HFRS.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2006.21.4.614
PMCID: PMC2729880  PMID: 16891802
Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome; Hantaan virus; Epidemiology; Incidence; Prevalence; Korea
2.  Atypical Pathogens as Etiologic Agents in Hospitalized Patient with Community-Acquired Pneumonia in Korea: A Prospective Multi-Center Study 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2006;21(4):602-607.
Local epidemiologic data on the etiologies of patients hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is needed to develop guidelines for clinical practice. This study was conducted prospectively to determine the proportion of atypical bacterial pathogens in adults patients hospitalized with CAP in Korea between October 2001 and December 2002. Microbiological diagnosis was determined by serology for antibodies to Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia pneumoniae, and Legionella pneumophila. Nucleic acid of M. pneumoniae and C. pneumoniae in respiratory samples and Legionella antigen in urine samples were detected. The study population consisted of 126 patients (71 males, 55 females), averaging 54.6 yr (SD±17.8), whose paired sera were available. An etiologic diagnosis for atypical pathogens was made in 18 patients (14.3%): C. pneumoniae 9 (7.1%), M. pneumoniae 8 (6.3%), and L. pneumophila 3 patients (2.4%). Streptococcus preumoniae and other typical pathogens were isolated from 36 patients (28.6%). Of 126 patients, 16 (12.7%) were admitted to intensive care unit and atypical pathogens were identified in 5 patients (31.3%). Initial clinical features of patients with pneumonia due to atypical, typical or undetermined pathogens were indistinguishable. We conclude that atypical pathogens should be seriously considered in hospitalized patients with CAP, when initiating empiric treatment in Korea.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2006.21.4.602
PMCID: PMC2729878  PMID: 16891800
Chlamydophila pneumoniae; Mycoplasma pneumoniae; Legionella pneumophila; Community-Acquired Infections; Pneumonia
3.  Emergence of vanA Genotype Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci with Low or Moderate Levels of Teicoplanin Resistance in Korea 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2004;42(4):1785-1786.
In Korea, vancomycin-resistant enterococci have become important nosocomial pathogens since the late 1990s, and most vancomycin-resistant enterococcal isolates have been VanA phenotype-vanA genotype strains. In 2001, we experienced an outbreak of VanB phenotype-vanA genotype vancomycin-resistant enterococci at a university hospital. This is the first report of VanB-vanA vancomycin-resistant enterococci from humans in Korea.
doi:10.1128/JCM.42.4.1785-1786.2004
PMCID: PMC387564  PMID: 15071050
4.  Characterization of a Lipoprotein Common to Legionella Species as a Urinary Broad-Spectrum Antigen for Diagnosis of Legionnaires' Disease 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2003;41(7):2974-2979.
We have previously identified the Legionella 19-kDa peptidoglycan-associated lipoprotein (PAL) as a species-common immunodominant antigen. We describe here for the first time the excretion and detection of the PAL antigen in infected urine specimens, which is useful for the diagnosis of Legionnaires' disease. Rabbit anti-PAL immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody was produced by immunization with the purified, recombinant PAL of Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 and used in the PAL antigen capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to detect urinary PAL antigen. A soluble-antigen capture ELISA using rabbit IgG antibodies against Legionella soluble antigens was prepared independently and used as a broad-spectrum standard test to detect soluble antigens of several Legionella species. Urine samples were obtained from guinea pigs experimentally infected with each of L. pneumophila serogroups 1, 3, and 6, and other Legionella species. The absorbance values of the PAL antigen ELISA highly correlated with those of the soluble-antigen ELISA in infected urine samples, with a correlation coefficient of 0.84 (P < 0.01). When applied to 17 infected urine samples and 67 negative controls from guinea pigs, the sensitivity and specificity of the PAL antigen capture ELISA were 88.2 and 95.5%, respectively. Compared to the commercial Biotest enzyme immunoassay, the PAL antigen ELISA was more efficient for detecting pneumophila non-serogroup 1 and nonpneumophila species. None of the 161 control human urine specimens obtained from healthy adults and patients with either non-Legionella pneumonia or urinary tract infections tested positive in the PAL antigen ELISA. The present study shows that the Legionella PAL is a very useful broad-spectrum antigen for urinary diagnostic testing. Moreover, since recombinant PAL antigen can be produced more efficiently than the soluble antigens, the development of a broad-spectrum diagnostic immunoassay based on the detection of the PAL antigen appears to be warranted.
doi:10.1128/JCM.41.7.2974-2979.2003
PMCID: PMC165357  PMID: 12843029
5.  Cytotoxic Activities of Leptospira interrogans Hemolysin SphH as a Pore-Forming Protein on Mammalian Cells  
Infection and Immunity  2002;70(1):315-322.
Leptospirosis is a spirochetal zoonosis that causes an acute febrile systemic illness in humans. Leptospira sp. hemolysins have been shown to be virulence factors for the pathogenesis of leptospirosis. Previously, we cloned a hemolysin SphH of Leptospira interrogans serovar lai, a homologue of L. borgpetersenii sphingomyelinase (SphA), from a genomic library (S. H. Lee, K. A. Kim, Y. K. Kim, I. W. Seong, M. J. Kim, and Y. J. Lee, Gene 254:19–28, 2000). Escherichia coli lysate harboring the sphH showed high hemolytic activities on sheep erythrocytes. However, it neither showed sphingomyelinase nor phospholipase activities, in contrast to SphA which was known to have sphingomyelinase activity. Interestingly, the SphH-mediated hemolysis on erythrocytes was osmotically protected by PEG 5000, suggesting that the SphH might have caused pore formation on the erythrocyte membrane. In the present study, we have prepared the Leptospira hemolysin SphH and investigated its hemolytic and cytotoxic activities on mammalian cells. SphH was shown to be a pore-forming protein on several mammalian cells: When treated with the SphH, the sheep erythrocyte membranes formed pores, which were morphologically confirmed by transmission electron microscopy. Furthermore, the SphH-mediated cytotoxicities on mammalian cells were demonstrated by the release of LDH and by inverted microscopic examinations. Finally, the immune serum against the full-length hemolysin could effectively neutralize the SphH-mediated hemolytic and cytotoxic activities. In conclusion, these results suggest that the virulence of Leptospira SphH was due to the pore formation on mammalian cell membranes.
doi:10.1128/IAI.70.1.315-322.2002
PMCID: PMC127624  PMID: 11748197
6.  Comparison of Immune Preservation Between CO2 Pneumoperitoneum and Gasless Abdominal Lift Laparoscopy 
Objective:
Carbon dioxide (CO2) pneumoperitoneum has been implicated as a possible factor in early immune preservation in laparoscopic surgery. Although the current analysis was not adequate to clarify this issue, the aim of this study was to compare CO2 insufflation laparoscopic cholecystectomy to gasless abdominal wall lift laparoscopic cholecystectomy with respect to preservation of the immune system.
Method:
An analysis of the temporal immune responses was performed in 2 similar groups of patients (n = 50) who were divided randomly into the categories of gas or abdominal wall lift laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The patients were matched with respect to age, weight, and operation time. The immune parameters (serum white blood cell count, cortisol, erythrocyte sedimentation rate [ESR], tumor necrosis factor-α[TNF-α], interferon-γ[INF-γ], interleukin-6 [IL-6], interleukin-8 [IL-8]) were assessed at preoperative 24 hours and at postoperative 24 and 72 hours for the 2 groups. During the operation, the levels of cytokines that were cultured in the peritoneal macrophages were also checked.
Results:
The serum white blood cell count, cortisol, and ESR levels were not statistically different in either of the 2 groups. Further, the serum TNF-α, INF-γ, IL-6, and IL-8 levels in both groups were not significantly different from each other at preoperative 24 hours, and postoperative 24 and 72 hours. However, an immediate decrease in the cytokine levels at 24 hours after the operation was significant in both groups. The cytokine levels were particularly higher in the cultured peritoneal macrophages than in the serum, but were not statistically different between the 2 groups.
Conclusion:
Our results showed that the beneficial immune response obtained in the CO2 gas insufflation laparoscopic procedure could also be obtained in the gasless abdominal wall lift laparoscopic procedure. An immediate preservation of the immune functions in the postoperative period was detected similarly in the 2 groups.
PMCID: PMC3043393  PMID: 12002290
Immune preservation; Laparoscopic cholecystectomy; Carbon dioxide insufflation; Abdominal wall lift; Gasless

Results 1-6 (6)