The health ministry plans to abolish the Tuberculosis Prevention Law to make the bacteria that cause the disease subject to counterterrorism measures under the Infectious Disease Law, which is expected to be revised next year, according to ministry sources.
The purpose of the revision is to increase regulation of the smallpox virus and other microorganisms that cause disease, by requiring registration of ownership of samples, restricting transfers, authorizing inspections if necessary, and other steps.
The tuberculosis law, instituted in 1951, does not have counterterrorism provisions or measures requiring the state to promptly investigate how an epidemic developed.
The Infectious Disease Law, instituted in 1998, contains disease prevention steps incorporating elements of the Communicable Disease Law, the AIDS Prevention Law and other regulations and covers about 80 diseases. Incorporation of the TB law has been deferred in part because TB affects the largest number of people.
Each year around 30,000 people are infected with TB and 2,300 die from it, according to the ministry.
The Infectious Disease Law empowers authorities to hospitalize people infected with the listed diseases.
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