Sunday, March 15, 2015

MALAYSIA:::Illegal foreign workers pose ‘frightening’ TB threat

Almost half of legal foreign workers suffer TB, illegals not tested, says MMA.
TBKUALA LUMPUR: While it is alarming that close to half of the foreign workers tested last year had tuberculosis (TB), the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) is concerned about the “frightening threat” posed by the illegal workers who are not tested.
Illegal foreign workers who do not go for medical screenings are the biggest factor behind the rise in TB cases, said MMA president Dr H. Krishna Kumar in a report in The Star.
“Those who know they are ill and cannot come in through the legal channel will come in illegally.

“Because those who come in illegally are not screened, they are walking around and spreading the diseases to people here and this is very frightening.”
MMA said that 17,981 foreign workers or 47 per cent of those tested last year were infected with TB.
There are about six million foreign workers in Malaysia and only 2.9 million of them are legally registered.
Most Malaysians are vaccinated against TB but those suffering chronic diseases like dengue or severe diabetes are more susceptible to this bacterial infection which is spread through sneezes and coughs in close quarters.
“If a group of legal and illegal foreign workers are staying in close proximity, the legal workers are exposed as well. And they are in contact with the rest of the country’s workforce,” said Dr Krishna.

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