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Public Enemy Number One

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Science  26 Apr 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6131, pp. 422-425
DOI: 10.1126/science.340.6131.422

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Tuberculosis (TB) has skyrocketed in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) during the past 20 years. Offering hope that North Korea can get control of the TB epidemic, DPRK's Ministry of Public Health and Stanford University opened a National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory in Pyongyang. The effort is a rare example of scientific cooperation between North Korea and the United States and, at a time of heightened tensions, one of DPRK's few active links with the West. Last month, author Richard Stone joined U.S. humanitarian organization Christian Friends of Korea to visit four rural TB rest homes and two facilities in the capital. North Korea may believe that its enemies are poised to strike, but TB is already running rampant across the isolated nation.