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Disease dogs Russian migrants

27th February 2007

Migrant workers in Russia are seldom subjected to health checks, and the population is vulnerable to infection with tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS or hepatitis, officials said.

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Health minister Mikhail Zurabov said he had been 'shocked' by figures from a recent investigation indicating that one in 10 of the country's migrant workers suffered from TB, HIV/AIDS or hepatitis.

He said ongoing checks were attempting to establish the exact nature of the public health problems faced by the country's 10 million illegal migrants.

Zurabov said a Soviet-era system of health checks for migrants had fallen apart in recent years.

Poor diet and heavy drinking have taken their toll on Russia's population, which is falling by 750,000 people a year.

Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and other infection levels have risen dramatically in Russia since the Soviet collapse, mainly among drug addicts, alcoholics and in the prison population.


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