Questions and Answers (Q&As)
What is tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is an infectious disease. People get tuberculosis from a type of bacteria. The tuberculosis bacteria can cause severe infections. Tuberculosis can affect any part of the body, such as the bones or kidneys. Tuberculosis of the lungs is the most common form and can be contagious in the case of open tuberculosis.
How contagious is tuberculosis?
Only someone with open tuberculosis can infect other people. In such cases, the tuberculosis bacteria is in the infected person’s lungs and small droplets containing the bacteria are released into the air as a result of coughing and sneezing. Other people can become infected by breathing in these droplets. Symptoms might not develop until months or even years after you were initially infected. People are most likely to develop symptoms within the first 2 years after they have been infected. You cannot get infected by touching someone with tuberculosis.
What are the symptoms associated with tuberculosis?
Most people get tuberculosis of the lungs. The associated symptoms are:
- a persistent cough
- a cough that brings up phlegm, which may be bloody
- weight loss and lack of appetite
- a high temperature (fever)
- breathlessness that gets worse
- night sweats
Tuberculosis is very treatable with medication. Treatment takes at least 6 months.
What should I do if I have symptoms?
Contact your GP or contact the tuberculosis control department of the Municipal Public Health Services (GGD) directly. Specialist doctors and nurses will screen you for tuberculosis. If you have tuberculosis, you will be prescribed medication. The nurses at the GGD will help you take the medication correctly.
What should I do if I am already being treated for tuberculosis?
Contact the tuberculosis control department of the GGD as soon as possible. Specialist doctors and nurses will ensure that your treatment can be continued in the Netherlands with the right medication.
How much does tuberculosis treatment cost?
The Netherlands has a healthcare system under which tuberculosis screening, treatment for tuberculosis and the medicines prescribed are covered by the government. This means that it is completely free.
Can I have my child vaccinated against tuberculosis?
Children from Ukraine under the age of 12 who have not yet had a BCG vaccine will be able to get their vaccine for free. To have your child vaccinated, please contact the tuberculosis control department of the GGD