North Koreans are exposed to serious health risks as the country tries to cope with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), the head of a local charity group said Friday.
Stephen Linton, head of the Eugene Bell Foundation, told a reporter in Anyang, south of Seoul, that the virulent strain of TB has become a serious threat. The remark was made after he visited clinics in the North from mid-October to Tuesday and brought back video images of patients and treatment facilities.
MDR-TB is resistant to conventional drug treatment and has become a major public heath concern in some countries since it can be transmitted person to person. The illness is usually caused by improper use of antibiotics and failure to ensure patients complete the whole treatment cycle.
Compared to ordinary TB patients who can be cured after receiving 6-8 months of medication, MDR-TB requires up to three years of treatment that can also require hospitalization,
The foundation, which has sent drugs and built clinics in the communist country to help the sick, currently has 12 treatment centers including four that were set up during Linton’s latest visit. (Yonhap News)