Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. In the Netherlands you may hear health care professionals using the term “TBC” instead of TB.
This bacterium can cause severe infections. The most prevalent form of tuberculosis is lung tuberculosis. Lung tuberculosis can be contagious; this is known as open TBC. More information can be found on the website of the RIVM.
When are you at risk?
You are at risk of tuberculosis:
- if you have intensive contact with someone with open TB.
- if you travel to a country where TB is widespread.
How can I become infected?
You can become infected with TB if you have intensive contact with a person who has open TB. A TB patient who coughs or sneezes vigorously breathes out many bacteria. About 10% of people who are infected with the TB bacterium become ill.
The most common complaints in the early stage of the disease are tiredness, listlessness, loss of weight, low-grade fever and night sweats. People with lung tuberculosis cough persistently, sometimes even coughing up blood. In general, treatment for TB patients is successful in our country. Patients who are not treated, or not properly, can die of the disease. This is why discovering the disease quickly is important.
Do you recognise these complaints? If you do, you should contact your GP. If your GP establishes that you do indeed have tuberculosis, he/she will refer you to the GGD or a lung specialist for treatment
Preventing the spread of tuberculosis
The GGD prevents tuberculosis from spreading by: