The soldier was shot by his comrades as he crossed the Demilitarized Zone.
The soldier was shot by his comrades Monday as he crossed the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea.
South Korean doctor Lee Cook-jong told reporters that an 11-inch worm was the longest parasite removed from the soldier’s intestines, the Guardian and the BBC reported. The team discovered the worms while operating to save the man’s life.
“I’ve never seen anything like this in my 20 years as a physician,” Lee said.
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People can get worms and other parasites through drinking contaminated water, eating undercooked meat and infected vegetables, being bitten by insects, coming into contact with feces and walking barefoot on larvae-infested soil.
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The worms — along with corn found in the man’s stomach — are believed to give a rare insight into life in the reclusive nation.
“Although we do not have solid figures showing health conditions of North Korea, medical experts assume that parasite infection problems and serious health issues have been prevalent in the country,” said Choi Min-ho, professor of the college of medicine at Seoul National University, according to the Guardian.
“(The soldier’s condition is) not surprising at all considering the North’s hygiene and parasite problems,” Choi added.
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The North uses human feces as fertilizer, according to the BBC. If untreated feces are used to fertilize vegetables that are then eaten uncooked, the person who eats them can get worms.
Meanwhile, the highest-level Chinese envoy to North Korea in two years, arrived in Pyongyang Friday to try to improve tense relations due to Beijing’s tightening of sanctions and support for President Trump’s calls for more pressure on the North to abandon its nuclear weapons program.