North Korea: Up to 800 families affected after latest outbreak strikes

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orth Korean leader Kim Jong Un sends home-prepared medicines to the Haeju City Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea  (via REUTERS)
orth Korean leader Kim Jong Un sends home-prepared medicines to the Haeju City Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (via REUTERS)

North Korea is suffering from an “unidentified gastrointestinal disease”, local media has reported.

The "acute enteric epidemic" broke out in South Hwanghae province and up to 800 families are thought to be impacted.

Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, is said to have donated medicines to affected families and comes after the state reported a surge in people suffering from fever last month.

South Korean officials believe the latest outbreak could be typhoid, dysentery or cholera as water treatment is poor in the state.

"The officials prepared medicines, foodstuff and daily necessities needed for the treatment of the epidemic and stable life to render aid to the people in Haeju City and Kangryong County (of South Hwanghae Province).

“Kim stressed the need to contain the epidemic at the earliest date possible by taking a well-knit measure to quarantine the suspected cases to thoroughly curb its spread," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

The leader of the hermit state als ocalled upon officials "to fulfil their duty in the work for easing the people’s misfortune and sufferings as soon as possible," state media reported.

The news agency also reported that Kim donated medicine from what it referred to as his family’s reserves.

The country’s main Rodong Sinmun newspaper carried a front-page photo showing Kim and his wife, Ri Sol-ju, looking at saline solutions and medicine that the paper said they donated.

Last month, North Korea reported a rising number of patients with fever. At the time, South Korea’s health agency said that “a considerable number” of the cases included those sick with measles, typhoid and whooping cough.

KCNA said on Thursday that more than 4.5 million out of the country’s 26 million people have fallen ill due to an unidentified fever and 73 died.

The country, which apparently lacks coronavirus test kits, has identified only a fraction of those as confirmed COVID-19 cases.

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