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Malaysia claims foreign workers to blame for rise in tuberculosis

Malaysia claims foreign workers  to blame for rise
in tuberculosis

Malaysia is concerned that foreign workers in the country are fueling the spread of tuberculosis to its citizens, a news report said yesterday.
Foreign workers, both legal and illegal, account for 2.6 million, or almost 25 percent of Malaysia's workforce, making it one of the largest importers of foreign labor in Asia.
Chief executive of the Foreign Workers Medical Examination Monitoring Agency Mohamed Ali Abu Bakar said many of the 1.3 million foreign workers who underwent health screenings last year were found to have tuberculosis, the Star daily reported.
"We've received various reports of foreign maids, for example, who passed TB on to the children of their employers," Mohamed Ali was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
"This alone gives us reason to regularly monitor and examine foreign workers, as there is also the risk of them carrying other diseases such as Hepatitis B and C, as well as HIV," he said.
Foreign workers are currently required to undergo three health screenings while working here. However the MMA's private practitioners' chairman, N.K.S. Tharmaseelan, said three screenings over three years were insufficient to detect diseases.
"Many diseases lay dormant in the carrier until triggered by some external factor. This is especially true for TB, which is why foreign workers must regularly have checks," Tharmaseelan said.
In 2005, 1,766 TB cases - or 11 percent of the total cases detected in Malaysia - were among foreign nationals, as cited from data from the Health Ministry.

Updated : 2021-05-07 08:15 GMT+08:00