Differential diagnosis of primary immunodeficiency in patients with BCGitis and BCGosis: A single-centre study

Scand J Immunol. 2021 Oct;94(4):e13084. doi: 10.1111/sji.13084. Epub 2021 Jul 28.


BCG infections occur more frequently in patients with underlying primary immunodeficiency disease (PIDD). In this study, we aimed to evaluate the ratio of PIDD in the patients with BCG infections. Patients with BCG infections were analyzed in a tertiary referral centre in the 2015-2020 period. Forty-seven patients with BCGitis/BCGosis were evaluated; thirty-four (72.3%) had BCGitis, and 13 (27.7%) had BCGosis. Common tissue and organs affected are lymph nodes (57.4%), skin and subcutaneous tissue (48.9%), lungs (23.4%) and liver (17%). PIDD was shown in 26 patients (55.3%), including 92.3% of patients with BCGosis and 41.2% of patients with BCGitis. Ten patients had Mendelian susceptibility to Mycobacterial disease (MSMD) (21.2%), six had predominantly antibody deficiency (PAD) (12.7%), five had severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) (10.6%), three had CGD (6.3%), and two had CID (4.2%). Mortality was reported in two patients (4.2%) with CID (ZAP70 deficiency (n = 1) and PIK3R1 deficiency (n = 1)). Parental consanguinity (84%), axillary lymphadenopathy (65%), mycobacterial lung disease (42%), hepatomegaly (30%) and growth retardation (19%) were significantly high in patients with PIDD diagnosis. Isolated vaccination site infection was also recorded in patients with PIDD (CID (n = 1), SCID (n = 1), PAD (n = 5)). BCG vaccination should be planned with caution for the cases with suspected PIDD. This study indicates that almost all patients (92.3%) with BCGosis and one in every two patients (41.2%) with BCGitis have an underlying PIDD. Parental consanguinity, axillary lymphadenopathy, mycobacterial lung disease, hepatomegaly and growth retardation (19%) are important clinical features in the differential diagnosis of PIDD.

Keywords: BCGitis; BCGosis; IL12RB1 deficiency; Mendelian susceptibility to Mycobacterial disease; chronic granulomatosis disease; severe combined immunodeficiency.

MeSH terms

  • BCG Vaccine / administration & dosage
  • BCG Vaccine / adverse effects
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mycobacterium bovis*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases / complications*
  • Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases / immunology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tuberculosis / complications*
  • Tuberculosis / etiology
  • Tuberculosis / immunology


  • BCG Vaccine