“Spread of Scarlet Fever?… Yangkang in Isolation”

[imText1]An inside North Korean source informed on the 13th that North Korea that has been suffering from “scarlet fever” has completely disconnected all trains to rural districts as well as closing schools in a great attempt to stop the spread of this infectious disease.

A defector Kim revealed a telephone conversation with his family in Musan “Since an infectious disease began to plague the country, all trains ceased have not yet been remobilized and lately due to the movements of the people’s units, regulations have become even stricter.”

Scarlet fever is a contagious disease that often spreads throughout late autumn and early spring. Symptoms include painful tonsils, high temperature and body rash. In South Korea, scarlet fever is merely a group 3 infectious disease and can easily be cured when treated, however in North Korea the disease is known to be spreading as a lack of resource and antibiotics.

The virus began to spread mid-October in the Northern border districts such as Hyesan, Bochoenbo, Baikam of Yangkang province and has began to spread towards rural inland areas of North Korea. Presently, the virus has spread to southern districts such as North Pyongan, Jagang province.

A defector Lee relayed his telephone conversation with his family “All trains that come from northern districts reach Kilju and then turn back. All trains scheduled from Pyongyang-Manpo-Hyesan only reach Manpo, Jagang province and then turn back.” On analyzing the two sources, it can be assumed that trains scheduled for the districts of North Hamkyung and Yangkang have been ceased and the regions in isolation.

Baikam, Hyesan, Bochoenbo elementary and middle school “winter vacation”

[imText2]Actions taken by authorities to stop the spread of scarlet fever by ceasing train movements is decisively different to that of infectious viruses spreading in the past.

In the 80’s~90’s North Korea experienced an outbreak of a disease similar to “salmonella” and though there was a time when all adults (children and students were excluded) had to obtain a “health report card” for travel, never had trains been immobilized like this time.

Also, it has been confirmed that in the northern districts of Yangkang and Baikam, elementary and middle schools have been temporarily closed due to scarlet fever and the recommencement of study continues to be postponed.

A defector born of this district Kang relayed information “As ‘scarlet fever’ began to spread last November, schools began to close down” and “They ordered not to return to school until early-December but then this was postponed to mid-December.”

Winter vacation in North Korean elementary schools and middle schools roughly last a month beginning in January until early February. Whether or not this long break will replace the winter vacation in January has not yet been revealed by the Education authorities, Kang said.

Kang informed “Until students are told by schools to return, they must remain in isolation” and “It is unknown when this will end as there is no sign as to when the infectious virus will die out.”

He said “As there are no alternate immunization treatments for ‘scarlet fever’, North Korean authorities continue to exhort ‘drink boiled water.’ Even hospitals are short of drugs and medical facilities that they are insensitive to the growing number of patients.”

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