How parasites found in North Korean defector reveal rogue state's secrets

How parasites found in North Korean defector reveal rogue state's secrets

How parasites found in North Korean defector reveal rogue state's secrets

"In my over 20-year-long career as a surgeon, I have only seen something like this in a textbook", lead surgeon Lee Cook-jong was quoted as saying.

He remains unconscious and relying on a breathing machine.

According to News Corp, North Korea spends 22 per cent of its gross domestic product on the military leaving other public spending priorities to suffer.

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South Korean officials are exploring the possibility that the defector may have been influenced by the country's propaganda. Seventy percent of people require food assistance to survive, including 1.3 million children below the age of 5. According to the New York Times, many North Koreans who've defected to the South have shown up infected with parasites.

The prevalence of parasitic infections in North Korea is believed to have been caused by local farmers' alleged use of human excrement as fertilizers in farms in place of chemical alternatives. As a fertilizer, "night soil" is free and abundant - and even made a cameo appearance in "The Martian".

It is the first case of a South Korean individual going on a trip to North Korea at the invitation by the country since the Moon administration took power in May.

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But it's notorious for transmitting parasites like the ones inside the North Korean defector's stomach.

Finding worms inside a soldier who once guarded one of the most scrutinized borders in the world is especially telling, a sign that North Korea's food woes affect military members, who typically have a higher ranking on the food-rationing list. "So (even) if majority might go unnoticed, they all indicate a poor health status".

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