NEW YORK, May 19 (UPI) -- The U.N. said 2,500 North Koreans die annually from tuberculosis and the health crisis urgently needs to be addressed in the isolated country.
In its "DPRK Humanitarian Needs and Priorities 2015 Report" the international body said tuberculosis is posing enormous health risks inside North Korea, reported Voice of America.
Additionally, 3,900 victims of multiple-drug resistant tuberculosis die each year, or spread the contagious disease at alarming rates.
Women who look after the patients are highly vulnerable, said the report, and children who come into contact with the patients or caretakers are also in need of immunization.
Almost 2 percent of tuberculosis patients were children, according to the U.N, reported South Korean news agency Yonhap.
The World Health Organization in a separate report noted in 2012 nine out of 100,000 North Koreans lost their lives to tuberculosis, which is treatable with vaccinations. That number however was down from 2011, when ten out of 100,000 North Koreans died from the disease.
But reported cases of tuberculosis in North Korea are up for the third year in a row.
The WHO's 2014 report on tuberculosis stated 110,000 people had the disease in 2013 – which means 429 out of 100,000 in the population were affected.
Ghulam Isaczai, the U.N.'s resident coordinator for North Korea said 350,000 women and children are in dire need of vaccines and health supplies.