• North Korea is facing an “epidemic” of an intestinal disease, according to state media. 
  • The outbreak of the “acute enteric disease” was first reported last week in the South Hwanghae Province.
  • This comes as the hermit country deals with a rapid surge of COVID-19 cases.

North Korea has been facing an “epidemic” of an intestinal disease as the hermit country deals with a rapid surge of COVID-19 cases, state media reported. 

The outbreak of the “acute enteric disease” was first reported last week in the South Hwanghae Province, which is roughly 75 miles south of the North Korean capital city of Pyongyang, according to the state news agency KCNA

The term enteric refers to the gastrointestinal tract — and according to South Korean officials, the illness might be typhoid or cholera, Reuters reported

At least 800 families have been affected by the outbreak and have gotten aid for it so far, Reuters reported. 

Medicines and other “aid materials” have since been sent to the South Hwanghae Province, according to KCNA.  

Medical crews were also dispatched to the region “to sterilize infected areas and conduct an intensive treatment campaign to cure patients in close collaboration with curative and preventive units in the areas,” KCNA reported.

KCNA reported that “positive efforts are being made to build quarantine wards with greater accommodation capacity, improved closure and treatment conditions.”

Additionally, medical specialists are examining “over 10 kinds of already developed antiviral medicines,” the state news agency reported. 

The outbreak comes as North Korea has been combating a COVID-19 wave

Last month, the country said it had found its first-ever case of COVID-19, prompting a nationwide lockdown. 

KCNA reported in a COVID-19 update on Monday that more than 4.6 million people in North Korea — which has a population of 26 million — have “caught fever” since late April. Seventy-three of them have died, the news agency reported.

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