The number of people with tuberculosis (TB) in the Netherlands decreased slightly in 2022. In 2022, there were 635 TB patients in the Netherlands. This is six per cent fewer than in 2021, when there were 673 patients. Among those patients, 250 had extrapulmonary TB and 384 had pulmonary TB. In the latter group, 171 patients had open TB – the most contagious type. In one case, it had not yet been determined whether the disease was pulmonary or extrapulmonary. This is evident from key figures published by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).
Eighty per cent (509) of all TB patients in the Netherlands came from countries where TB is common. Most patients were born in Eritrea (70), followed by Morocco (59) and India (36).
Number of TB patients in the Netherlands continues to decline
The number of TB cases reported in the Netherlands has been decreasing for decades now. The main reason that fewer cases were reported in 2022 than in 2021 is that there were fewer people with extrapulmonary TB. The number of reported cases of pulmonary TB was the same as in 2021. The number of patients with open TB rose slightly in 2022. There were 141 patients with open TB in 2021, rising to 171 last year. Despite the increase in 2022, the number of people with open TB has been on the decline in recent years.
What is TB?
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by bacteria. A notification obligation applies to the disease. This means that doctors are required to report the disease to the Municipal Public Health Service (GGD). The GGD then reports it to RIVM. TB can be contagious, for instance when it is pulmonary – that is, present in a patient’s lungs.
TB can usually be treated effectively with antibiotics.
Early detection of TB
Early detection of TB infections makes it possible to treat people before they become ill. This, in turn, prevents the TB from spreading to other people.
In 2022, 1,196 TB infections were reported. One-third of these cases were detected by screening migrants from countries where TB is common upon their arrival in the Netherlands. More than one-fourth were detected through source and contact tracing in connection with a patient.