Friday, July 13, 2007

High-risk groups told to have blood tested for hepatitis

Star: PETALING JAYA: More than a million Malaysians are estimated to be carriers of hepatitis virus, and the Health Ministry wants those in the high-risk groups to have their blood tested.
Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said there were 1.3 million Hepatitis B carriers and half of them could infect other people.
“They are a source of infection and can infect others through needles, blood or sex,” he told reporters after opening the 7th Liver Update conference.
Between 500,000 and 800,000 people are Hepatitis C chronic carriers, Dr Chua added.
Hepatitis A remains the most common and the virus can be transmitted through food.
Dr Chua said a lot of liver cancer cases, which is one of the top 10 cancers among Malaysian men, were due to Hepatitis B and C.
He said healthcare workers were also at risk of contracting Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV because they sustained sharp injuries when handling needles.
The number of such cases increased from 498 in 2000 to 746 last year.
On the dengue outbreak in Kelantan, Dr Chua said Malaysians needed to be more committed in overcoming the problem adding that the “battle would not be easily won” if people continued to blame parties like the local authorities.

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