Complementary and alternative medicine use among outpatients during the 2015 MERS outbreak in South Korea: a cross-sectional study

  • Young Sun Jung (Medverkande)
  • Hyun Jeong Cho (Medverkande)
  • Hyea Bin Im (Medverkande)
  • Young Sun Jung (Medverkande)
  • Soo Jeung Choi (Medverkande)
  • Dongwoon Han (Medverkande)



Abstract Background The 2015 MERS outbreak in South Korea was the largest event outside of the Middle East. Under such circumstances, individuals tend to resort to non-conventional solutions such as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to manage health. Thus, this study aims to examine characteristics of CAM use among outpatients in a community hospital setting during the 2015 MERS outbreak and to assess potential predictors of CAM use during the epidemic. Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted among 331 patients (response rate: 82.75%) at a community hospital located in Seoul, South Korea. The survey instrument included 36 questions on the use of CAM, demographic characteristics, health status, and respondents’ perceptions and concerns about MERS infection. Chi-square test and logistic regression were conducted for data analysis using SPSS ver. 21.0., and a p-value of less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant for all analyses. Results 76.1% of respondents used one or more types of CAM modalities during the MERS outbreak. Consumption of easily accessible modalities such as multivitamin (51.2%) and food products (32.1%) was most popular, and the majority of CAM users relied on mass media (52.4%) and the internet (27.4%) to obtain information on CAM. The use of CAM was associated with age between 40 and 49, age over 50, prior CAM use, and dissatisfaction with the government response to the MERS outbreak. Conclusions CAM was commonly used by outpatients during the 2015 MERS outbreak in Korea, and mass media was the main source of information. Establishing a media platform is of paramount importance to provide reliable information and ensure the safety of its use.
Datum som det gjorts tillgängligt1 jan 2020
FörlagFigshare - Springer

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