In February, a group of researchers from Stanford University traveled to Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (North Korea) to set up that country's first laboratory capable of detecting drug-resistant tuberculosis. After famines plagued North Korea in the 1990's, the country witnessed a resurgence of tuberculosis. South Korean sources believe TB has affected as much as 5 percent of North Korea's population of 23 million. The TB project seeks to strengthen North Korea's ability to detect all forms of the disease and support its treatment and control.
Stanford epidemiologist Sharon Perry and Dr. Gary Schoolnik were among the U.S. team who traveled to North Korea. They spent time working with doctors at the Ministry of Public Health in Pyongyang, the nation's capital. In this interview they share with AAAS members memories of their time in this secret state.