In 2013, 848 patients with tuberculosis (TB) were reported. This was 109 TB patients (12%) less than in 2012. In the past decade, the number of TB patients in the Netherlands has fallen by 38%. This has emerged from the 'Tuberculosis in the Netherlands 2013' surveillance report from RIVM, in collaboration with KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation. The report describes the situation of TB in the Netherlands in 2013 and also breaks down the key figures.

Fall in number of cases of contagious pulmonary tuberculosis

In addition to the total number of TB patients, the number of TB patients with contagious pulmonary tuberculosis has also decreased.  Pulmonary tuberculosis was established in as many as half of the reported TB patients. This concerned the most contagious form of the illness in 50% of these cases.  In comparison with 2012, this is a decrease of 15%.

Designate risk groups among immigrants longer than 2.5 years in the Netherlands

In 2013, almost three-quarters of the number of TB patients were born abroad. Half of these immigrated into the Netherlands more than 2.5 years before and originally came from a region were TB frequently occurs. The report indicates that the size of this large group of TB patients has not decreased much, if at all. Hence it is recommended to investigate which sub-groups of immigrants can be considered as risk groups.  New measures in order to trace TB earlier among these groups, or provide preventive treatment to these persons can combat the spread of the illness.

Test and register HIV infection

In 49% of patients, it is unknown if they are also infected with HIV. HIV infection increases the risk of contracting TB and is often the first indication a patient is HIV-positive. Therefore it is in the patient's best interest to establish if the patient is HIV positive as early as possible and start treatment. To this end, screening and monitoring of HIV infection among TB patients must be improved.