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Travelling and tuberculosis

6 februari 2018

If you plan to travel to Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, Central or South America, you may need to be vaccinated against tuberculosis (BCG vaccination) before you set off or you may need to be checked for tuberculosis on your return.

When is a test needed?

A test for infection or in some cases vaccination against tuberculosis may be necessary if one of the following situations applies to you. In such cases, please contact the TB department well before you set off.

  • If you have reduced resistance due to illness or because you are taking medication.

Or:

  • If you are going to work in or be admitted to a hospital, a prison or an institution for homeless people, addicts, refugees or people who are HIV positive and you will remain there for one month or longer.

Or:

  • If you are going to stay in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia or Central or South America for longer than three months. This also applies to regular short trips within a year which, taken together, amount to longer than three months.

Or:

  • If you regularly travel with children under the age of five and you expect that the child will spend at least three months in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia or Central or South America before it reaches the age of five and the child has not had the BCG vaccination.

Which tests are possible?

  • Tuberculin skin test (Mantoux) before and/or after the trip, possibly combined with a consultation with one of our doctors.
  • BCG vaccination preceded by a tuberculin skin test.

Test once you return

If a test for tuberculosis is needed after you return, please complete the application form TB after trip abroad. Two months after your return, you will receive a written invitation to have a tuberculosis test.

> application form TB after trip abroad

General information about travelling and tuberculosis

The most common form of tuberculosis is lung tuberculosis. Patients with lung tuberculosis may be infectious to other people when they cough and release bacteria into the air. Breathing in these bacteria can lead to infection. Stay away from people with severe coughs while traveling. If that is not possible, try to breathe through your nose as much as you can and cover your mouth with a scarf, handkerchief or mask that covers your nose and mouth. Avoid small, dark and poorly ventilated places (small houses, huts, slums) as they carry an increased risk of infection. If you have to enter such places, sit close to an open window.
If, after your trip, you develop a persistent cough that lasts longer than three weeks, you are advised to consult a doctor. Always mention that you have been abroad. For more information, see www.tuberculose.nl.