SEOUL, Feb. 8 (Korea Bizwire) — Though the South Korean public considers the introduction of diseases originating abroad (MERS, ebola, avian influenza) a serious problem, the percentage of those who believe that they themselves are at risk of contracting one of these diseases was found to be low.
In a survey of 1,000 adults carried out by the KCDC last November, 70 percent of the participants said disease-causing agents from foreign territories were a serious problem. However, 38.6 percent saw their chances of infection as either very low (7.2 percent) or low (31.4 percent). Another 51.5 percent responded that their chances were “similar to others”, while the proportion of participants who felt they were very much at risk did not crack 10 percent.
When asked if they would be willing to undertake preventative measures such as inoculations and reviewing disease information for travel destinations before, during, or after a trip, the number of affirmative responses were relatively low. Of those polled, 66.8 percent said they would do so before, and 76.5 percent and 76.7 percent said they would take steps during and after the trip, respectively.
Only 32 percent stated that they had actively searched out information on foreign illnesses.
These individuals typically used internet search engines, followed by the KCDC’s website, social networking sites and TV and radio to gather information.
According to figures provided by the Ministry of Justice, 53.4 million South Koreans traveled abroad last year, 17.9 percent (8.13 million) more than the previous year.
Foreign travel has been increasing exponentially in the past half decade. Breaking the 30 million mark in 2013, outgoing South Koreans tallied over 40 million in 2016.
The KCDC will use the data gathered from the survey to plot out a more effective communications strategy to educate the public on foreign diseases.