Thursday, 14 December, 2017

North Korean defector found to have 'enormous parasites'

North Korean defector found to have 'enormous parasites' North Korean defector found to have 'enormous parasites'
Kenny Thornton | 18 November, 2017, 16:23

Shin said redeployment is needed because more needs to be done to address North Korea's threats.

A North Korean soldier shot multiple times while defecting to the South is in a stable condition, but could rapidly deteriorate at any moment, and as he is riddled with parasites that could complicate his chances of survival, his doctor said on Thursday (Nov 16).

The unarmed soldier, whose name and rank have not been disclosed, defected to the South on Monday by driving a military jeep near a line that divides the Koreas at the Joint Security Area (JSA), and then rushing across it under a barrage of bullets. Moreover, there may be a higher risk of infection due to the high amount of feces and intestinal parasites found in the man's abdomen and digestive system. According to the South Korean military - who did not fire any weapons - the shooting was the first shooting in the jointly controlled border in over three decades, reported the New York Post.

"We are paying close attention to prevent possible complications", Lee said, explaining that "an enormous number of parasites" including roundworms had been found in the small intestine.

The military has crossed the border in the current Monday, under the gusts of the soldiers for north Korean, in the area of the village of Panmunjom, where was signed the cease-fire of the Korean war (1950-53).

After collapsing just metres from his goal, he was pulled to safety by South Korean troops and taken to hospital by a United States helicopter.

While the contents of the defector's stomach do not necessarily reflect the wider population, his status as a soldier with an elite assignment suggests he would at least be as well nourished as an average North Korean.

Fresno unemployment rate inches up in post-harvest October
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Humans can get parasites through eating contaminated food, by being bitten by an insect or by the parasite entering through the skin.

Lee Min-bok, a North Korean agriculture expert, told Reuters: "Chemical fertiliser was supplied by the state until the 1970s". The people eat frequently of raw vegetables that have been fertilized with human manure, according to experts.

"While some parasites don't cause any severe symptoms, others can be life threatening", said Professor Peter Preiser at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

"What they all do is take nutrients away from your body", he told the BBC. On top of the poor sanitation conditions, there are not enough anti-parasitic drugs to treat those who have been infected.

If the intestines are disrupted and parasites are released into the body cavity, they can be a lot more unsafe and much more complicated to treat. This means "that patient will generally be in a weaker state so any wounds and surgery will become more unsafe", explains Prof Preiser.

The defector's condition underscores just how bad North Korea's sanitation is.

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