TB outbreak strikes Thailand

An outbreak of tuberculosis that has hospitalized nearly 60 Burmese workers in Phuket, Thailand, has prompted immigration officials to call for a more integrated approach to tracking migrant labor.

During a fact-finding visit to Phuket by the Thailand House Committee on Labor, Phuket Immigration Superintendent Colonel Panuwat Ruamrak said more needed to be done to monitor foreign workers, according to

“Currently each department keeps its own statistics," Colonel Panuwat said, reports. "We need to have a more efficient database, because over the next five to 10 years the numbers are going to increase a lot. Another thing that concerns me is that over the past three months, 57 foreign workers have been sent to us after having been diagnosed with tuberculosis.”

After the meeting, Colonel Panuwat said that those who tested positive for TB needed to be deported.

“There are 60,000 registered migrant workers, but I think there are more than 100,000 of them out there,” Phuket Tourist Association Vice President Krisada Tanaskul said, reports. “On the positive side, they help us in terms of [coping with] the labor shortage. However, it has also caused some social problems since we lack an efficient management system,” he said.