Setting: Nationwide random sample survey for tuberculosis prevalence in Korea in 1995.
Objective: To investigate the prevalence of tuberculosis infection, morbidity and drug resistance, and BCG coverage, and to compare the findings with those of the previous six surveys.
Design: The following investigations were performed: tuberculin test, BCG scar screening, chest miniature radiography (70 x 70 mm) for those aged over five years, sputum direct smear, culture and drug susceptibility test, and a questionnaire to obtain history of antituberculosis chemotherapy and symptoms.
Results: The coverages of the 1995 survey were as follows: tuberculin 87.0%, radiology 88.4%, bacteriology 98.3%. The observed tuberculin positivity (> or =10 mm in diameter) of subjects aged under 30 was 15.5%. The prevalence of pulmonary tuberculosis per 100000 has decreased in the last 30 years: direct smear positive from 686 to 93, smear and/or culture positive from 940 to 219, active tuberculosis from 5065 to 1032. Rates of drug resistance have also fallen: of those with no previous chemotherapy from 26.2% to 5.8%, of those with history of chemotherapy from 55.2% to 25.0%, and in total from 38.0% to 9.9%. BCG scar prevalence of infants (aged under one year) was 87.7%, and of those under 30 it was 91.8% in 1995.
Conclusion: Tuberculosis prevalences and the drug resistance rates have decreased significantly.