Not Covid or monkeypox, North Korea reports unidentified disease outbreak: Here’s what we know so far

As the world still struggles to cope with the challenges posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its aftermath, the sudden increase in monkeypox cases has emerged as a new scare. However, North Korea said Friday, June 17 that hundreds of families have fallen ill with an “unidentified” intestinal disease. The situation will put immense pressure on the country’s healthcare system which is already strained by Covid.

What do we know?

The official KCNA announced this week a new “acute enteric outbreak” in South Hwanghae Province. Kim apparently urged officials to “contain the outbreak as soon as possible.”

Is it serious?

Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un’s sister, was among a group of high-ranking officials who reportedly personally donated drugs to try to help. This is a possible sign of the seriousness of the situation.

Help for families

State media KCNA reported on Friday that the drug will be delivered to “more than 800 families suffering from the acute epidemic that has broken out in parts of South Hwanghae Province”. The report does not mention what kind of drugs.

How many people are affected?

According to the report, at least 1,600 people have been infected with enteric disease. The reports sparked speculation that the unspecified illness could be cholera or typhoid.

Other risks

If confirmed, the outbreak could worsen the country’s chronic food shortages as South Hwanghae Province is one of North Korea’s main agricultural regions.


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Post expires at 9:56pm on Monday June 27th, 2022