Travel and tuberculosis

Are you traveling to Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia or Latin America? You might need a BCG vaccination or tuberculosis testing before and/or after your journey. This is not the case for all countries, first check the travel advise of your specific destination on the country list

Testing for tuberculosis or in some case vaccination might be necessary if one of the following situations is applicable to you.

Please contact the tuberculosis department of the GGD well ahead of time of departure.

  • If due to illness or use of medication you have a weak immune


  • If you are going to work or stay in a hospital, prison, orphanage or shelter for homeless people, drug addicts, asylum seekers of HIV infected.
  • If you are going to stay longer in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia or Latin America. This is also the case if short trips within 1 year add up to 3momnths.


  • If you frequently travel with children younger than 5 years who have not been vaccinated with BCG and expect that the child will have travelled 3 months in total before the age of 5 in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia or Latin America.

The investigation can include one or more tests listed below:

  • Tuberculin skintest (Mantoux)
    With this test an infection with the tuberculosis bacteria can be detected. A small amount of fluid is injected in the skin in the left side of the forearm. If you have antibodies against tuberculosis a skin reaction with a bump will occur. The skin reaction will be evaluated two to three days after the injection.
  • Blood test (IGRA)
    A blood sample is taken and sent to the laboratory to test whether there are antibodies against tuberculosis in your blood. After 2 to 3 weeks you will receive the result by letter or email.
  • BCG vaccination preceded by a tuberculin skintest (Mantoux)

If testing for tuberculosis is needed, please contact your GGD.

The most frequent form of tuberculosis is pulmonary tuberculosis. Patients with pulmonary tuberculosis can be contagious if they cough and bacteria are transmitted through the air to another person. Try to avoid persons who are coughing. If not possible, breathe through your nose and not your mouth. Cover your face by mask, shawl or handkerchief. Avoid small, dark and poorly ventilated areas (small houses, huts or slums to minimize the risk of infection. If unavoidable try and sit next to an open window.

If after your journey you are coughing for longer than 3 weeks, we advise you to consult a doctor or general practitioner. Let the doctor know where you have been and in which country.

For more information see the websites and informationfolder Travelling and TB

To give correct travel advise we need additional information. Please fill in the Questionnaire vragenlijst and send it to your GGD.