Not all treated tuberculosis (TB) patients achieve long-term recovery and reactivation rates reflect effectiveness of TB treatment.
We aimed to estimate rates and risk factors of TB reactivation and reinfection in patients treated in the Netherlands, after completed or interrupted treatment.
Retrospective cohort study of TB patients with available DNA fingerprint data, registered in the Netherlands Tuberculosis register (NTR) between 1993 and 2016. Reactivation was defined as an identical, and reinfection as a non-identical Mycobacterium tuberculosis strain in sequential episodes.
Reactivation rate was 55/100,000 person-years (py) for patients who completed, and 318/100,000 py for patients who interrupted treatment. The risk of reactivation was highest in the first 5 years after treatment in both groups. The incidence rate of reactivation was 228/100,000 py in the first 2 years and 57/100,000 py 2–5 years after completed treatment. The overall rate of reinfection was 16/100,000 py. Among those who completed treatment, patients with male sex, mono or poly rifampicin-resistant TB and a previous TB episode had significantly higher risk of reactivation. Extrapulmonary TB was associated with a lower risk. Among patients who interrupted treatment, directly observed treatment (DOT) and being an undocumented migrant or people experiencing homelessness were associated with a higher risk of reactivation.
Both patients who completed or interrupted TB treatment should be considered as risk groups for reactivation for at least 2–5 years after treatment. They patients should be monitored and guidelines should be in place to enhance early detection of recurrent TB.