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State of infectious diseases in the Netherlands, 2017

Staat van Infectieziekten in Nederland, 2017


In 2017, the number of people who fell ill in the Netherlands as a result of meningococcal type W increased sharply once again. In 2017, 80 patients were reported, compared to an average of 4 patients per year before 2015. Because of this increase, from 1 May 2018 the meningococcal C vaccination given to babies of 14 months was replaced by a vaccine that protects against more types of meningococcal bacteria (ACWY). From the autumn of 2018, the meningococcal ACWY vaccine will also be offered to teens born between 2001 and 2004.

In addition, it appears that the number of patients with Legionnaires' disease has increased since 2012, from 291 people in 2012 to 561 in 2017. Some of these infections were contracted by Dutch people while travelling abroad. In particular, the number of infections contracted in the Netherlands was higher in 2017 than in previous years, with a peak in the summer months. The cause of the increase is unclear; however, there is a relationship with warm and wet weather. The infectious diseases that caused the most health loss in the Netherlands in 2017 were influenza, pneumococcal disease and legionella disease.

These are the findings published in the State of Infectious Diseases of RIVM. This annual report provides policy makers at the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the municipal health services and RIVM, among others, with an overview of the most important developments in infectious diseases in the Netherlands and abroad.

Every year, the State of Infectious Diseases focusses on an in-depth theme. This time, the theme is 'Infectious disease epidemiology in the year 2018'. It discusses what the sharp increase in digital data in recent years means for research into the extent to which infectious diseases occur and into sudden outbreaks of diseases. For example, it is possible to detect outbreaks of diseases earlier because more and more genetic data from pathogens are becoming available. The new data and methods are an important addition to the 'traditional' methods, but cannot replace them.

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