OBJECTIVESIn an era when the average life expectancy and overall mortality rate have improved, Korea remains at risk for infectious disease outbreaks that place substantial burdens on the healthcare system. This study investigated trends in mortality and the economic burden of infectious diseases.METHODSHealthcare data from the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (2009-2019) and the Korean Statistics Information Service (1997-2019) were used. We selected 10 infectious disease groups (intestinal infections, tuberculosis, vaccine- preventable diseases, sepsis, viral hepatitis, HIV-related diseases, central nervous system infections, rheumatic heart diseases, respiratory tract infections, and arthropod-borne viral diseases).RESULTSThe age-standardized mortality rate for infectious diseases increased from 27.2 per 100,000 population in 1997 to 37.1 per 100,000 population in 2019 and has had an upward trend since 2004. During this same period, significant increases were seen in respiratory tract infections and among elderly persons, especially those aged ≥85 years. The costs for infectious diseases increased from 4.126 billion US dollar (USD) in 2009 to 6.612 billion USD in 2019, with respiratory tract infections accounting for 3.699 billion USD (69%). The annual cost per patient for visits for medical care due to infectious diseases increased from 131 USD in 2009 to 204 USD in 2019.CONCLUSIONSMortality among elderly persons and those with respiratory tract infections increased during the study period. The economic burden of infectious diseases has consistently increased, especially for respiratory tract infections. It is therefore essential to establish effective management policies that considers specific infectious diseases and patient groups.

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