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Further decline of TB in the Netherlands in 2014.

last century TB house – Zonnestraal

The latest data on tuberculosis in the Netherlands in 2014 have been published by the Center for Infectious Disease Control Netherlands/RIVM. In line with the trend of the past twelve years, the number of TB patients in the Netherlands has declined. In 2014, 823 patients with tuberculosis were registered; and the most contagious form of TB (pulmonary TB) was found in 201 patients. Almost three quarters of the registered TB patients in the Netherlands were born in countries where TB is common (highly prevalent), mainly in parts of Africa and Asia. The percentage of TB patients in the Netherlands who were tested for HIV infection has increased: more than half of the people with TB were tested for HIV. Overall, the proportion of TB patients co-infected with HIV has declined in the past ten years, from 4 percent to 2.8 percent.

More TB patients tested for HIV; overall decline in the percentage of TB patients with HIV. Number of people with drug-resistant TB remains low.

Multidrug-resistant TB is relatively uncommon in the Netherlands at the moment: in 2014 six TB patients were diagnosed with multidrug-resistant TB. Of the patients with no TB drug-resistance in 2013, 91% were treated successfully; this is an excellent result.

Gerard de Vries, Head of KNCV the Netherlands and TB coordinator for RIVM-CIb:

““The TB control approach in the Netherlands is effective in putting a stop to further transmission of TB”

The RIVM publishes the yearly TB data in the annual report Tuberculose in Nederland. KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation works with the RIVM on the analysis of the data and was closely involved with the creation of this report.

Tuberculosis in the Netherlands

The number of patients in the Netherlands with tuberculosis has declined steadily from 1994 onwards. In 2014, 823 patients were registered with tuberculosis. Once tuberculosis is located in the lungs, it may become transmittable; the most contagious form of TB occurred in 201 patients in 2014. Almost three quarters of the registered patients in the Netherlands are from areas where TB is common, mainly in parts of Asia and Africa. Analysis of the 2014 records shows that, as in previous years, the largest group of patients originate from, Somalia (105), followed by Morocco (82) and Eritrea (53). The RIVM reports annually on these data, as part of the WHO global campaign to eliminate tuberculosis.

Active TB case finding and prevention

The Municipal Health Services in the Netherlands screen for active TB disease among population groups at risk. With early case-finding and treatment people with TB can receive care, often even before they develop infectious TB. The Municipal Health Services carry out contact investigation in each TB patient’s ring of contacts. Contacts who are infected with TB receive preventive TB treatment. This prevents further transmission of TB. In all, 17% of the TB patients in 2014 were found through active case-finding and 1081 people with TB infection received preventive treatment.

Tuberculosis and HIV: HIV infection increases the chances of contracting TB, and TB is often the first visible sign of HIV infection. It is therefore important to diagnose HIV and initiate treatment as quickly as possible. The percentage of TB patients tested for HIV has risen from 28% in 2008 to 52% in 2014. Currently, in 48% of the TB cases, it remains unknown whether the patients are HIV positive. The percentage pf TB patients in the Netherlands testing positive for HIV has declined from 4% to 2.8% in the last 10 years.

Multidrug resistant TB: When TB-bacteria do not respond to medicine, this is classified as anti-tuberculosis drug resistance. Multidrug resistant TB is the term used when the bacteria become resistant to a number of drugs. This is relatively uncommon in the Netherlands at the moment: in the last 5 years, 10-20 patients have been diagnosed annually as having multidrug resistant TB.

Treatment results: To successfully treat TB, patients often have to submit to a multi-medicine regime for a long period (often longer than 6 months). The 2014 data were not available at the time of this report’s publication. The data for 2013 show that 91% of non-resistant TB patients were treated successfully; an extremely good result.

Tuberculose in Nederland 2014. Surveillance rapport : inclusief rapportage monitoring van interventies (For English synopsis: click on tab.)

Download the report in Dutch (PDF) Tuberculose in Nederland 2014. Surveillance rapport : inclusief rapportage monitoring van interventies