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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
NORTH KOREA: N. Korea Seriously Affected by Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis: Charity Group
Staff Writer
November 12, 2013
Global Post (11.08.2013) Aids Weekly Plus

The Global Post recently reported that multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB) was a serious threat to the North Korean population. Stephen Linton, head of the Eugene Bell Foundation, returned November 5 from a three-week visit to North Korea, during which he visited 12 TB treatment centers established by the foundation. After his return, Linton described the MDR TB danger to a reporter in Anyang, South Korea. Linton stated that Eugene Bell Foundation only provided treatment to 10 percent of North Korea’s MDR TB patients. He stressed that the North Korean government understood the seriousness of MDR TB and had cooperated fully with the foundation. Linton urged private organizations to transcend politics and increase MDR TB aid to North Korea as a humanitarian effort. South Korean government officials responded that bad political relations had decreased public assistance to North Korea, but did not affect humanitarian efforts. MDR TB usually resulted from improper use of antibiotics and failure to complete the ordinary TB treatment regimen, but person-to-person transmission could take place. MDR TB could become a major public health threat worldwide. While ordinary TB patients could achieve a complete cure through a six- to eight-month treatment regimen, MDR TB necessitated up to three years of medication and could require hospitalization.