On Sunday, state media reported that medical teams and epidemiologists were dispatched to a province battling an intestinal disease outbreak.
At least 800 families in South Hwanghae Province, about 75 miles south of Pyongyang, are suffering from what North Korea only refers to as an “acute enteric epidemic.”
A gastro-intestinal infection could be cholera or typhoid, say South Korean officials.
As the isolated country struggles with chronic food shortages and waves of Covid-19 infections, this outbreak puts further strain on it.
KCNA, the state news agency, detailed prevention efforts on Sunday, including quarantines, intensive screenings for everyone living in the city, and special treatment and monitoring for the elderly and children.
KCNA reports that farmers have taken steps to ensure farming is not disrupted in the key agricultural area as part of the National Rapid Diagnosis and Treatment Team. Drinking water and household waste were being disinfected as well as sewage and other waste, according to the report.
North Korean state newspaper Rodong Sinmun reported on Friday that Kim Jong Un and other family members will deliver medicines to South Hwanghae Province families. Due to North Korea’s lack of free press, independently verifying its claims is difficult.
North Korea’s epidemic officer Ryu Yong Chol advised viewers on state television that contaminated food and drinks could result in enteric diseases spreading. Keeping patients isolated is crucial to preventing its spread, he said.
Typhoid and cholera are among the pathogens that cause enteric diseases, but polio, hepatitis A, and dysentery bacillus are also prevalent.
In the same month as North Korea continues fighting Covid-19 or “fevered cases,” news of the “enteric epidemic” came to light.
According to KCNA, 19310 new fever cases were reported on Sunday, without mentioning how many of those cases were coronavirus positive.
Since the first Covid outbreak was acknowledged in mid-May, more than 4.6 million people have reported fever symptoms. KCNA reports 73 “fever” deaths as of June 19.
It is difficult to verify the case numbers and recovery rates reported by North Korean state media independently, as it is with claims of an “acute enteric epidemic” by North Korea.