North Korea reports outbreak of a new intestinal disease

How many people are affected by what the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) called is unclear severe enteric epidemic in the city of Haeju in the southwest of the country.

The agency hasn’t identified the disease either, however enteric coated refers to intestinal diseases such as typhoid, dysentery, and cholera caused by contaminated food or water, or contact with the feces of infected people.

Such diseases are widespread in North Korea, where water treatment facilities are scarce and the public health system has been weak for several decades.

A strategy to restore Kim Jong-un’s image

Observers believe the announcement wasn’t really intended to testify about the infections, but rather to reveal that leader Kim Jong-un has been donating drugs from his personal stash – an apparent move to boost his image in times of crisis.

KCNA news agency said the medicines donated by Kim Jong-un came from his family’s reserves. The country’s main daily newspaper Rodong Sinmunposted a front-page photo showing Kim and his wife Ri Sol-ju examining saline solutions and medicines, which the publication says they donated.

In a country where power is concentrated in the hands of a narrow elite and where hospitals lack even the bare essentials, defectors say it’s common practice for those able to hoard medicines at home — and top executives tend to be far more capable of this than ordinary citizens.

Observers point out that the drugs may have simply come from public stocks but were dispensed in Kim Jong-un’s name.

An outbreak of measles or typhoid is not uncommon in North Korea. I think it’s true that an infectious disease is breaking out, but North Korea is taking this opportunity to show that Kim cares about his people.said Ahn Kyung-su, the owner of website dprkhealth.org, which focuses on health issues in North Korea. So it’s more of a political message than a medical one.

North Korea faces other health problems

Over the past month, North Korea has seen an increase in the number of patients suffering from fever. At the time, South Korean intelligence said that a considerable number Patients had measles, typhoid or whooping cough.

Agency KCNA said Thursday that more than 4.5 million of the country’s 26 million people have been affected by an unidentified fever that has caused 73 deaths. The country, which appears to have no coronavirus testing kits, has classified only a fraction of those cases as related to COVID-19.

Several experts cast doubt on North Korea’s records, saying the numbers are likely to be reduced to protect Kim from political harm.

North Korea recently showed progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19, but a World Health Organization official said the agency said the situation appeared to be getting worse.

South Korea offered health assistance to its neighbor late Thursday. A previous offer from South Korea and the United States of COVID-19 vaccines went unanswered.

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