Objective: To study vaccinal scar formation and post-vaccinal immune response in newborns with birth weight ranging from 2000 to 2499 g vaccinated in the first week of life with intradermal bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) (Moreau-Rio de Janeiro strain).
Method: Specific immune response to PPD was assessed in 30 low birth weight newborns (mean birth weight = 2311.7 +/- 122.1 g; mean gestational age = 38.1 +/- 1.8 weeks) in comparison to 56 control infants (mean birth weight = 3198.9 +/- 267.2 g; mean gestational age = 38.5 +/- 1.2 weeks.
Results: Low birth weight infants have an efficient immune response to vaccinal stimulus when compared to control infants as judged by specific in vitro lymphocyte proliferation (mean SI = 9.7 +/- 12.9 vs SI = 8.8 +/- 10.0, P = 0.72) and IL-2 production (mean SI = 3.1 +/- 3.4 vs SI = 2.6 +/- 2.0, P = 0.38). Intradermal reaction to PPD was also comparable in both groups (mean induration diameter = 9.5 +/- 5.1 mm vs 9.6 +/- 5.0 mm, P = 0.94).
Conclusion: These data suggest that low birth weight newborns show a good immune response to BCG, thus reinforcing the inclusion of such infants in regular vaccination programs with intradermal BCG.