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Watch (if you dare): 27cm parasite removed from North Korea defector
videoelephant
2018-02-19    0 views
Warning: the attached video may not be for the squeamish

Parasitic worms found in a North Korean soldier have highlighted nutrition and hygiene problems experts say have long plagued the isolated and impoverished communist state.

The soldier was critically injured when he was fired on by North Korean soldiers as he crossed the demilitarised zone during a dramatic escape to South Korea, and was airlifted to hospital on Monday (November 13).

At a briefing on Wednesday (November 15), lead surgeon Lee Cook-jong displayed photos showing dozens of flesh-coloured parasites – including one 27cm long – removed from the wounded soldier’s digestive tract.

“In my over 20 year-long career as a surgeon, I have only seen something like this in a textbook,” Lee said.

The parasites, along with kernels of corn in his stomach, may confirm what many experts and previous defectors have interpreted from the food and hygiene situation for many North Koreans.

Experts believe that the discovery of such parasites in the soldier provide indirect evidence that infection problems have been prevalent in North Korea.

Lee said that parasitic worms, once common in South Korea 40 to 50 years ago, had all but disappeared as economic conditions greatly improved.

Hong Sung-tae, a professor at Seoul National University College of Medicine who specialises in parasites, says their presence north of the heavily fortified border dividing the two Koreas could be in part tied to the use of human excrement. “Due to the lack of fertiliser, North Koreans fertilise their fields with human excrement. And this becomes an immediate cause of the parasitic infection,” he added.

with Reuters

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U.S. woman found with eye worm previously known only in cattle


T
Tony.xu
Published at: 2018-02-13

26-year-old woman from Oregon becomes first human to have her eye infected with 14 of these tiny worms previously only seen in cattle.

An Oregon woman has become the first person worldwide known to have had an eye infestation by a tiny worm species previously seen only in cattle that is spread by flies that feed on eyeball lubrication, U.S. government researchers said on Monday.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientists said 14 translucent parasitic worms of the species Thelazia gulosa, all less than half an inch (1.27 cm) long, were extracted from the 26-year-old woman’s eye over a 20-day period before her symptoms dissipated.

This species of Thelazia worm was previously seen in cattle throughout the northern United States and southern Canada, the researchers reported in a study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. They said the study indicates that North Americans may be more vulnerable than previously understood to such infections.

If the worms remain in a person’s eye for a prolonged time, they can cause corneal scarring and even blindness, according to the researchers.

“Cases of eye worm parasitic infections are rare in the USA, and this case turned out to be a species of the Thelazia that had never been reported in humans,” said study lead author Richard Bradbury, who works with the CDC’s Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria.

Bradbury said previously it was thought there were only two different species of these eye worms that infected humans worldwide, and that Thelazia gulosa is now the third.

The researchers said the woman noticed a small, translucent worm in her left eye after experiencing irritation. Her frequent outdoor pastimes during the summer months exposed her to the infection, they added.

She was from the city of Gold Beach, located on Oregon’s coast along the Pacific Ocean about 40 miles (65 km) north of the California border.

Previous cases of such eye worm infections have been reported worldwide, predominantly in Europe and Asia and in rural communities with close proximity to animals and with poor living standards, the researchers said.

Eye worms are found in a variety of animals including dogs, cats and certain wild carnivores.


Credit: Reuters

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