SEOUL, Oct. 28 (Yonhap) -- North Korea ranks 193rd out of 195 countries in terms of ability to prevent, detect and respond to an epidemic, a recent global health security index showed.
The impoverished North scored 17.5 points in the index compiled by the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, coming higher than only two countries -- Equatorial Guinea and Somalia.
The global average was 40.2 points.
The factors driving down the North's score included weakness in real-time surveillance and reporting.
"Because infectious diseases know no borders, all countries must prioritize and exercise the capabilities required to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to public health emergencies," the report said.
"Every country also must be transparent about its capabilities to assure neighbors it can stop an outbreak from becoming an international catastrophe," it said.
Since the North reported its first outbreak of African swine flu to the World Organization for Animal Health in May, the country has not reported any further details.
Meanwhile, South Korea ranked 9th in the index while the United States topped the list with a score of 83.5 points, followed by the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
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