Both the New York Times and The Guardian have reported that doctors found an inordinate amount of parasitic worms in the digestive tract of a North Korean soldier defecting to South Korea this past week.
The North Korean soldier was shot numerous times while running through the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) as he fled the brutal dictatorship. Doctors were forced to perform life-saving surgery which resulted in discovering the large parasitic infestation. Dozens of parasites measuring up to 11 inches in length were extracted from the soldier’s digestive tract which lead to surgeon Lee Cook-jong making the following statement:
“In my over-20-year-long career as a surgeon, I have only seen something like this in a textbook.”
A professor from Seoul National University’s college of medicine, Prof. Choi Min-ho, made the following statement regarding conditions within North Korea:
“Although we do not have solid figures showing health conditions of North Korea, medical experts assume that parasite infection problems and serious health issues have been prevalent in the country. The man’s condition is not surprising at all considering the North’s hygiene and parasite problem.”
A member of South Korea’s ruling Democratic Party, Byung-Kee, stated that he believed the soldier to be a staff Sargent stationed near the Joint Security Area within the UN truce village of Panmunjom.
Soldiers within North Korea are considered assets in that they carry a high value to the ruling regime. Logically, soldiers with elite assignments are expected to be well nourished as they are the military’s front-line in the event of an attack. The defecting soldier’s medical condition should act as an indicator of the unsanitary conditions that are being experienced among the majority of the population.
As North Korea’s ability to purchase fertilizer diminished as a result of increased economic sanctions, the regime encouraged farmers to begin using human excrement to fertilize their crops; also known as “night soil.” Human excrement is capable of carrying dangerous pathogens that can promote disease and parasitic infection, both of which occur at a higher rate within areas that use “night soil.” Disease carried within human excrement can be passed from human to human via fecal-oral transmission, which is why it’s considered dangerous to fertilize agriculture meant for human consumption with “nigh soil.”
North Koreans mainly survive on rice, bean paste, and kimchi (a traditional side dish made from salted and fermented vegetables). When the North Koreans are worried about coming up short on harvest the regime imports corn. In 2016 the entire amount of corn imported by the North Koreans from China amounted to only 3,125 tons.
Fast forward to President Trump taking office and implementing crippling sanctions as a result of NoKo’s nuclear threats, tests, and ambitions; between January and September of 2017 North Korea has already imported 49,000 tons of corn from China. That’s 15 times more than the amount imported in fiscal 2016. A stern reminder of the Kim regime’s poor leadership in negotiating the economic consequences of its nuclear desires.
Parasitic infection exacerbates the malnutrition problem the North Korean people are facing. Helminth parasites (hook worms, whipworms, threadworms) are commonly found in areas that utilize “night soil” as a fertilizer for their agriculture.
The National Center for Biotechnical Information (NCBI) is a part of the United States Library of Medicine. The NCBI grants access to detailed biomedical and genomic information in which they offer the following with regard to parasitic exacerbation of malnutrition:
“Helminth and schistosome infections occur in the same geographical areas as does malnutrition. These parasitic infections can occur already in malnourished persons. Hookworm infections reduces food intake and/or increase nutrient wastage via vomiting, diarrhea, or blood loss. These effects exasperate protein energy malnutrition, anemia, and other nutrient deficiencies. Hookworm infection reduces the work capacity and productivity of children and adults; increases maternal and fetal morbidity, premature delivery, and low birth weight, as well as the susceptibility to other infections; and reduces the rate of cognitive development.”
The Kim regime puts wanton nuclear ambitions ahead of the population’s overall health and hygienic conditions while encouraging unhealthy farming practices. This only furthers the spread of various diseases accompanied with parasitic infections, all of which add to malnutrition throughout the population. A trend that is expected to continue as North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un pursues his delusional desires of nuclear dominance over the United States.