Because North Korea is such a closed society, it is difficult to get much information out of that country. However, some aid workers believe the outbreak is related to the bird flu, while others are blaming foot and mouth disease.
In any event, whenever there is an outbreak of disease of this magnitude it is important for everyone to keep a very close eye on it. Especially considering the fact that bird flu exploded across South Korea recently. If North Korea is experiencing child to child transmission of the bird flu, this could turn into a gigantic story.
A portion of the source article is reproduced below:
A mystery epidemic spreading along some North Korean border towns with China has claimed the lives of dozens of children, a Seoul-based humanitarian group said Tuesday.
The highly contagious disease has sparked a health alert with an estimated five or six children dying every day since April 27 in the northeast city of Hoeryong, the Good Friends group said.
North Korean health authorities have been unable to stop the spread of the epidemic or to come up with an exact diagnosis or cure, it added.
Doctors in the North suspect it may have been caused by avian influenza or hand-foot-mouth disease. "Bird flu is spreading," the group quoted one doctor as saying.