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Parasites, infections in N. Korean soldier who defected reveal country's conditions

Parasites, infections in N. Korean soldier who defected reveal country's conditions

Health
Hospital records from a soldier who defected from North Korea this month offer telling details about health problems in the closed country. The 24-year-old soldier had parasitic infections and a dangerous hepatitis infection — conditions that speak to poor sanitation and rough conditions in North Korea. Most shocking, perhaps, are reports of large parasitic worms, some measuring 11 inches, recovered from his intestines. "An estimated 5 million people in North Korea have intestinal roundworms. That's 20 percent of the population," said Dr. Peter Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor. Doctors found the parasites — likely Ascaris roundworms — while repairing intestinal damage from multiple bullet wounds the soldier sustained during his escape. The eggs of ...