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Malaria cases in North Korea dropped for four consecutive years

By Jennie Oh
The World Health Organization attributes the lower number of malaria cases in North Korea to the global fight against infectious diseases. File Photo by mycteria/Shutterstock
The World Health Organization attributes the lower number of malaria cases in North Korea to the global fight against infectious diseases. File Photo by mycteria/Shutterstock

SEOUL, South Korea, Dec. 5 Malaria cases in North Korea have declined for four straight years, according to a new World Health Organization report.

The number of North Koreans who contracted the disease totaled 4,890 last year, down from 21,850 in 2012, according to the WHO report, published last week.

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The health agency attributed the progress to the global fight against infectious diseases.

The United Nations International Children's Emergency fund has supplied mosquito nets, insecticides and medicine to prevent and treat malaria for North Koreans.

Malaria in the country had vanished in the 1970s before it resurfaced in 1998, infecting 2,000 people. There was another surge of cases between 2010 and 2012, according to the report.

North Koreans are susceptible to contracting wide range of infectious diseases that have mostly been eradicated in the developed world, Chosun Ilbo reported.

"Infectious diseases account for 31 percent of deaths in North Korea, which is far higher than the 5.6 percent rate in [South] Korea," Ki Mo-ran of South Korea's National Cancer Center told Chosun Ilbo.

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