North Korea detects ‘acute intestinal epidemic’ in country’s southwest

Seoul, Jun 16 (EFE). North Korean media reported Thursday the detection of an “acute intestinal epidemic” around the city of Haeju, in the southwest of the country, at a time when the regime is also fighting a wave of Covid-19.

State news agency KCNA said leader Kim Jong-un himself sent “medicines prepared by his family” to the area of ​​the country affected by this enteric disease Wednesday, without giving further details.

Contagious gastrointestinal diseases can be caused by bacteria, as in the case of cholera or typhoid fever; by parasites, such as giardiasis; or viruses such as hepatitis A or rotavirus. They stem from ingesting water and food contaminated with fecal matter and can be transmitted between people.

Enteric diseases are very common in North Korea, where many places do not have adequate water sanitation systems.

The photo accompanying the KCNA story shows Kim Jong-un and North Korean first lady Ri Sol-ju reviewing medicines sent to the affected area, which includes the city of Haeju, capital of South Hwanghae province, and adjoining Kangryong County, both on the western maritime border with South Korea.

According to KCNA, Kim ordered local officials to do their utmost to cure the sick and “quarantine suspected cases to thoroughly limit their spread.”

North Korea is also suffering from a wave of Covid-19 that the country officially identified on May 12 for the first time since the pandemic began.

According to data published Thursday, the country detected some 26,000 “fever cases” (a term used to refer to suspected cases, given its limited capacity to test), and said some 4.5 million people may have contracted the virus since the end of April, of which only 46,000 remain under treatment.

These data point to an unusually fast transmission of the virus and excessively low mortality rate. The World Health Organization has asked the regime to share more data to know the true extent of the wave.

South Korean intelligence services have said many of these “fevers” may be other diseases, such as measles or typhoid fever. EFE


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