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Hepatitis B screening of immigrants should continue: Taiwan DOH
Central News Agency
Page 3
2009-06-05 12:25 AM
Department of Health (DOH) Minister Yeh Ching-chuan said yesterday that Taiwan should retain its policy of screening new migrant workers for hepatitis B, given that most of them work in close contact with their employers.

Yeh was referring to a recent decision by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to revoke the policy of testing migrant workers for hepatitis B upon their arrival in Taiwan.

Speaking at a committee meeting in the Legislative Yuan, Yeh said the long existing regulation should be maintained, as it would help to prevent transmission of the liver disease from migrant workers - over half of whom are caregivers - to the wider population.

The tests would also help to monitor the health of foreign workers, he added.

"I will seek to further understand the CDC's decision and will make an announcement on the matter in two weeks time," Yeh said, in response to a question by ruling Kuomintang Legislator Hou Tsai-feng.

Around 170,000 of the 300,000 foreign workers in Taiwan are caregivers who come into close contact with their Taiwan employers and families, Hou said.

Hepatitis B screening of foreign workers upon entry to the country would help prevent transmission of the disease, if workers test positive, she added.

Describing the CDC's recent decision as debatable, she said the cancellation of hepatitis B testing of new migrant workers would put the country's citizens at risk of contracting the disease.

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