Objective The outbreak of renal diseases caused by melamine-contaminated milk products in China in 2008 was one of the most serious food safety events in recent years. Because of the heavy volume of trade between Taiwan and China, the Taiwanese government was very concerned about its effects on the Taiwanese people, and conducted a nephrolithiasis screening program in government hospitals. We report the results of the screening program conducted by the Taipei County Hospital, Taiwan. Methods Residents of Taipei County, Taiwan who perceived that they had exposed themselves to melamine-contaminated milk products, self-referred to Taipei County Hospital for nephrolithiasis screening from September 24, 2008 to September 30, 2008. Plain abdominal radiography and urinary analysis were provided, and the final diagnosis of nephrolithiasis was confirmed with renal ultrasound examination. Their urine analysis results were compared with those of other people who underwent health screening at the same hospital in September 2008. Results A total of 721 participants were included in the program, of which 33 were diagnosed to have nephrolithiasis, representing an overall prevalence of 4.6%. After adjusting for age and sex according to the census data of Taipei County, the prevalence of nephrolithiasis was 5.1% in all and 6.5% among adults; these figures did not exceed the prevalence rate in the general adult population of Taipei County (9.2%) and among all Taiwanese adults (9.6%), based on a previous nationwide survey conducted in Taiwan. Conclusion These results suggested that governments can carry out a good risk communication program in relation to melamine-contaminated milk product events, and thus reassure the public as well as allay fears over perceived health risks stemming from such events.
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