Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis, also known as TB, is an infectious disease caused by the tubercle bacteria (TB bacteria). Infection with this bacterium can cause severe inflammation. Tuberculosis can occur anywhere in the body but the most common form is pulmonary tuberculosis. Pulmonary tuberculosis can be contagious. If a TB patient is not treated at all or properly, the disease can be fatal.

Tuberculosis occurs regularly in the Netherlands. Every year, there are about 1,100 new patients in the Netherlands. Worldwide, about 9 million people contract tuberculosis every year. Every 18 seconds, someone dies from this disease somewhere in the world.

Tuberculosis symptoms

You can become infected without noticing it. About one in ten people who become infected actually become ill. Then the following symptoms may occur: prolonged coughing, emaciation, fatigue, fever, night sweats, loss of appetite and sometimes coughing up blood. You can then in turn transmit the disease to others. The time between becoming infected and illness is 8 weeks to a lifetime. After infection, about 10% of people become ill, of which 80% become ill in the first 2 years.


You can reduce the risk of infection by turning your face away from coughs as much as possible when around them. Are you going to a country/countries with tuberculosis for a long time and have a lot of contact with the local population? Then vaccination or checking for infection is recommended. Preferably seek advice from the Tuberculosis Control Office of the GGD at least eight weeks before travelling. For more information see: