Swine Flu in North Korea a Big Risk

Kim So Yeol  |  2009-10-29 16:06
Although no incidents of swine flu in North Korea have been officially reported, and it is unlikely that the authorities would report them in any case unless numbers were stratospheric, it is true that there is a high possibility of an explosive outbreak in a destitute country such as North Korea.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of infected people in the world as of the 27th was approximately 414,000, with the deceased numbering 5,000.

In South Korea, as of the 28th, the total number of swine flu-related deaths was 29. In particular, the reported death of an otherwise healthy woman in her 20s, who was not considered high-risk, has shocked the nation.

The WHO notes that no incidents of swine flu have yet been officially reported in North Korea. However, most defectors with backgrounds in health care agree that, considering the closed nature of North Korean society and its highly inadequate health care system, incidents of swine flu are likely to be either suppressed or merely misdiagnosed.

The first case of swine flu in Mongolia last month has heightened concerns. As for China, the number of people infected with the swine flu in the country is the third highest in the Northeast Asian region, making the spread of the disease to North Korea only a matter of time.

Further, the illegal smuggling of North Korean citizens through China has increased significantly in recent years, and conditions such as the comings and goings of overseas Chinese and the temporary return of the children of high-level officials from studying abroad are risk factors. If swine flu were to enter the North, then there is also the possibility that it would spread rapidly through the jangmadang (market), which has become the primary means of survival for the people.

Since developed countries have been experiencing difficulties securing vaccines, it is highly unlikely that a country such as North Korea has an adequate amount. Also, if swine flu were to spread widely due to the low standards of sanitation in the North, the food insecure people would not be able to withstand the resulting carnage.

Lee Hye Kyung, who defected in 2002, was a pharmacist in North Korea, “In the mid-1990s, cholera was quite rampant,” she told the Daily NK, “but at the time, North Korea called it acute diarrhea and intentionally covered up incidents. North Korea tends to suppress outbreaks of infectious diseases."

She said that she had heard from several defectors from Hwanghae Province that in 2007 and 2008 more than 30 deaths resulted from an outbreak of the measles, but this too was kept a secret.

In North Korea, even in the cases of an outbreak of infectious diseases, the number of deaths is not usually reported if it is less than 10; if it exceeds 100, then the facts are conveyed to each region in the form of an official notice.

She explained, “It is unlikely that North Korea will make incidents of swine flu cases official before the number of deaths reaches an alarming level."

Lee did, however, favorably evaluate the fact that the North Korean authorities have recently strengthened cautionary measures against epidemics, "The North has demonstrated an improved attitude towards foreign-currency earners who go back and forth between North Korea and China than in the past,” she explained, “carrying out strict tests for virulent diseases through blood tests and sanitary measures."

The WHO plans to distribute swine flu vaccines contributed by developed countries to 100-some developing countries in November; North Korea is on this list.

It is anticipated that voices calling for the humanitarian donation of vaccines will only grow louder now that South Korea has started inoculating its own people.
 
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고도원

노무현씨가 자주쓰는말.."자주"!! 그 자주의 길로 들어서기전에 먼저 국제 사회에서 왕따당할것 같은 불길한 예감.. 자자.. 지금이라도 늦지 않았다.. 언능 북한 인권개선에 적극 나서자.. 왕따가 얼마나 괴로운건지는 TV를 봐서 알지 않은가.. 4700만 국민을 생각하라.. 2300만 북한 인민을 생각하라.. 역사상 최악의 지도자중 한명으로 평가되는건 정말 챙피한 일이지 않는가..    | Edit | X 

이현주

한국은 이미 시기적으로 늦었다... 유교수의 말에 따라 한국은 이미 너무나도 멀리 와 버렸다. 무조건 좋은게 좋은줄말 알았던 한국정부... 하지만 이런 원리가 통하지 않는 김정일에게 먹힐리 만무하다.
남한 정부는 지금 부터라도 미국과 공조해 북핵 문제를 해결해야 할 것이다.    | Edit | X 

김정환

유교수의 의견에 반대한다. 김정일은 핵보유국이 되기위해 시간을 벌고자 할뿐이다. 핵보유국이 되려면, 첫째 핵실험을 성공적으로 마쳐야하고 적어도 20기의 핵을 보유 해야만 한다. 그의 계획엔 다른 건 안중에도 없다. 국제적으로 핵보유국으로 인정받는 것만이 전부다. 회담이고 김정일 체제 안정보장책이고 다 헛소리에 가깝다. 바깥에서 무슨짓을 하던 그는 핵보유국으로 갈것이다. 이런 사실을 명백히 알고 그에 대한 대비책을 강구하는 것이 중요하다. 김정일체제가 전복되지 않는 한 아무것도 소용없음을 알아햐한다. 김정일에게 시간주기 6자회담은 당장 걷워치워야한다. 방법은 내부 요인에 의한 김정일 체제 전복 아니면 외부 물리력에 의한 체제전복 그둘 중의 하나다. 첫번 방법은 중국과의 경제단절로 가능한데, 이 일에는 노무현정부가 큰 걸림돌이다. 중국을 압박하기 앞서 노정부가 먼저 경제단절을 통해 김정일을 압박하고 중국을 다음에 불러들이는 일에 촛점을 맞추어야한다. 비료 50만톤 절대 한될일이다. 김정일이 비자금으로 얼마든지 수입할수 있다. 김정일의 비자금을 탕진 시키는 일도 경제압박의 수단이다. 외부의 모든 무상원조을 단절하면 김정일이 인민 폭동이 무서워 제돈을 쓸것이다. 외부로 부터의 모든 경제적 도움은 비핵화의 걸림돌이다. 결국은 내부 엘리트집단에 의해 타도될 것이다. 둘째방법은 가장 확실한 방법이고 단 시간내에 가능한 방법이다. 외부의 물리력앞에 김정일은 1주일을 못버티고 망명을 갈것이다. 인명피해도 첫번째 방법보다 오히려 적을수 있다. 실제적 물리력행사전에 강력한 심리전으로 총한방 쏘지않고 허물어질수 있다고 본다.    | Edit | X 

cacap

햇볕정책만 고집하다 국제사회에서 외면받고 말았네... 그 대단한 한민족정신은 어디가고.. 이제 굳이 척양척왜하지않아도 되겠ㄴㅔ.. 알아서 국제사회에서 외면해주니.. 씁쓸하다.    | Edit | X 

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