Global & Disaster Medicine

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Red Cross Society & The Arrival of H1N1 in North Korea


“On 19 January 2018 the Vice Minister of Public Health (MoPH) officially informed the World Health Organization (WHO) Country Office in Pyongyang of an outbreak of Influenza A (H1N1) stating that between 1 December 2017 and 16 January 2018 there was a total of 126,574 suspected influenza cases – individuals presenting with influenza-like illness. Of these, 81,640 cases were confirmed as Influenza A (H1N1) and as per the Ministry communication there had been four deaths – three children and one adult. According to the Ministry, 24.5 per cent of suspected influenza cases (numbering 31,010) were among children aged 0-7 years, 22.8 per cent (n= 28,858) were among children 8-16 years and the rest 52.7 per cent (n= 66,706), were among those who were above 17 years. The outbreak has become generalized throughout the country with 28.7 per cent of cases in the capital city – Pyongyang. The government has requested support for influenza vaccination targeting high-risk individuals with the MoPH specifically requesting 30,000 Oseltamivir tablets for healthcare workers. WHO has so far dispatched 5,000 tablets with 30,000 in the pipeline to distribute to frontline healthcare workers and vulnerable groups. There is a request to strengthen the nonpharmaceutical aspect of the operation with an emphasis on public health including surveillance and preventive activities with all agencies (WHO, UNICEF) requested to support with conducting an effective communication programme…..”

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