Winter Olympics 2018 Norovirus OUTBREAK: Is North Korean bio-attack behind crippling bug?

The number of norovirus infections have doubled in the run up to the , with hundreds suffering from painful bouts of diarrhoea and projectile vomiting.

As many as 128 cases have been confirmed by the Olympics organising committee on Thursday and more than 1,2000 people have been quarantined.

The norovirus is one of the most common winter stomach bugs, responsible for gut-wrenching cramps, aching limbs, fevers and headaches.

Kim Hyun-jun, director of the Korea Centre for Disease Control & Prevention (KCDC), confirmed on Wednesday that authorities were battling the spread of the virus.

So far no deaths have been reported, despite false and misleading headlines on social media, and the winter flu typically clears out without medical treatment after several days.

Mr Kim said: “In order to stop the further outbreak of the virus, we’re quarantining patients beginning from the diagnosis to the treatment. We’re going to minimise this outbreak.”

The expert further underlined January and February are “peak seasons” for the winter flu, but some have pointed the finger at another potential culprit. 

Earlier in 2017, horrifying reports from revealed that the threat of nuclear attack is not the only significant danger lurking deep within the hermit state.

An October study from the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School, reported the development of the biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction in the heart of the country.

Andrew C Weber, former Assistant Secretary of Defence for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defence Programs, said: “This is an issue that is generally neglected by the national security community.

Winter Olympics 2013: Security checkpointGETTY

The norovirus is responsible for projectile vomiting, painful stomach cramps and fevers

“Biological weapons are more complicated than nuclear weapons; they do not lend themselves to easy-to-understand pictures.”

Then in December the state-controlled Korean Central News Agency threatened harsh retaliation against the US for exposing its destructive capabilities. 

The Government mouthpiece said: “As a state party to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), it maintains its consistent stand to oppose development, manufacture, stockpiling and possession of biological weapons.”

“The more the US clings to the anti-North Korea stifling move the more hardened the determination of our entire military personnel and people to take revenge will be.”

The Pyongyang Bio-technical Institute is believed to be the hotbed of North Korea’s bio-weapon manufacturing machine.

Officially a pesticide production plant, the facility is believed to produce killer bugs ranging from anthrax to smallpox and the plague.

A 38 North special report into the facility concluded: “The North Korean assertion that the plant is intended to produce insecticides is an old and well-used cover for a biological weapons program. 

“In fact, it is not uncommon for biological weapons facilities to actually function as bio-insecticide plants. 

“Iraq’s Al Hakam Factory produced both Bacillus anthracis—the causative agent of Anthrax—and Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)—a bacteria used in Bt bio-insecticide.”

Winter Olympics 2018 security checkpointGETTY

So far no athletes have contracted the unpleasant winter flu bug

As a member of the  Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), ’s nation is prohibited from the development of such weapons, but North Korea maintains a poor track record of following international treaties. 

In order to stop the further outbreak of the virus, we’re quarantining patients beginning from the diagnosis to the treatment

Kim Hyun-jun, Korea Centre for Disease Control & Prevention

Andrew Weber, former US assurance Defence Secretary warned against this threat in December, suggesting that North Korea could be developing covert methods of delivering lethal anthrax.

The security expert said: “The Soviet Union did have warheads that were designed for biological weapons on long-range missiles. 

“But it is really not necessary, you could deliver an anthrax attack in Los Angeles or Miami or New York, covertly and have strategic impact and kill tens or thousands or hundreds of thousands of people.” 

Pyeongchang, home to the celebrated Winter Olympics, sits within just 50 miles of the deadly border between the two Korea’s.

On the eve of the sports games, crackpot leader .

At the same time the .

For the first time in several years, the Winter Olympics have led to a temporary peace truce between the embittered nations, with North and South Korea entering the games under a shared ‘united Korea’ flag.