The role of BCG in prevention of leprosy: a meta-analysis

Lancet Infect Dis. 2006 Mar;6(3):162-70. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(06)70412-1.


The present meta-analysis investigates the role of BCG-a widely used yet controversial vaccine-in the prevention of leprosy. The electronic databases Medline, Embase, the Cochrane Library, and LILACS were searched to identify studies assessing the protective effect of BCG against leprosy. We included seven experimental studies and 19 observational studies. The experimental studies demonstrated an overall protective effect of 26% (95% CI 14-37%). At 61% (95% CI 51-70%), the observational studies overestimated the protective effect. The age at vaccination did not predict the protective effect of BCG. An additional dose of BCG was more protective in the prevention of leprosy compared with a single dose. An additional dose of BCG may be warranted for contacts of leprosy patients in areas where leprosy continues to be a public-health problem.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • BCG Vaccine* / administration & dosage
  • BCG Vaccine* / immunology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunization, Secondary
  • Leprosy / prevention & control*
  • Male


  • BCG Vaccine