The North Korean soldier who defected to South Korea under heavy gunfire was infested with parasites, including foot long roundworms, according to doctors.

It is still not known if the unnamed man will survive the six gunshot wounds he sustained from his former comrades as he dashed across the Joint Security Area on 13 November.

The state of his body has led doctors to theorise about the difficult circumstances North Korean soldiers are living in.

"I spent more than 20 years of experience as a surgeon, but I have not found parasites this big in the intestines of South Koreans," said Lee Cook-jong, the doctor working on the solder.

Lee's team found dozens of parasites inside the man's body, including presumed roundworms measuring 10.6in (27cm).

Parasites are often an indicator of poor nutrition and general health care – suggesting that North Korea's servicemen, who enjoy far greater living standards than the average citizen, are used to very poor conditions.

Video footage of the soldier's daring escape from Kim Jong-Un's communist state has gone viral and now the world is holding its breath to see if he will recover from his injuries and begin a new life in the free world.

On 13 November, the North Korean defector drove a military jeep to the border between the two nations before crashing into the side of the road. He then ran towards the military demarcation line while being chased by fello North Koreans who opened fire on him.

The man is believed to have sustained six gunshot wounds before collapsing in South Korean territory. One North Korean crossed the demarcation line before running back to the northern side as South Koreans soldiers swept in.

The South Koreans then rescued the injured man, who had collapsed in a pile of leaves. He was rushed to a hospital in Suwon, south of Seoul, in a US military helicopter where he received treatment and regained consciousness.

The UN released the footage of the dramatic episode on 21 November. It also released a statement informing North Korea that it had violated the 1953 armistice agreement when the pursuing soldier crossed over the border.