Enormous Parasites, Dozens of Worms Removed From Escaped North Korean Soldier’s Intestine
A North Korean soldier who was shot while fleeing the border has become the latest topic of discussion across countries. The man who was shot multiple times after running across the demilitarized zone which separates North and South Korea is currently recovering at a hospital near Seoul. While doctors say that the patient is stable there is a large number of worms in his body that is contaminating his wounds and worsening his condition. South Korean doctor Lee Cook-Jong said that he has not seen anything like this in his 20 years of career as a physician. A worm measuring 27 cm was removed from the patient’s intestines.
His chances of survival, however, are complicated by the “enormous number of parasites” found in his body, Lee Cook-Jong told Agence France-Press on Thursday. Parasites generally enter a person’s body through contaminated food or when they are being bitten by an insect or parasite entering through their skin. In case of the soldier, parasitises entered his body via contaminated food which is often worms. There were also 11 inches long parasites in his body. Reportedly, human faeces are still used as fertilisers in North Korea and when they are untreated and consumed uncooked, the parasite can result in the person’s intestines.
The soldier was shot at least six times when ran across the Joint Security Area in Panmunjom to the South Korean side. He was rushed to a hospital in South Korea by a helicopter and underwent emergency surgery. South Korea also faced a similar problem until the use of commercial fertilizers in the 1980s. Roundworms “thrived in Korea because human excrement was practically the only method used to fertilize the land, possibly due to the relative scarcity of cattle,” said a report published in Cambridge University’s Medical History journal this June.