Disseminated bacille Calmette-Guérin disease after vaccination: case report and review

Clin Infect Dis. 1997 Jun;24(6):1139-46. doi: 10.1086/513642.


The attenuated bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine is administered to prevent tuberculosis. Complications of vaccination are uncommon. We report a new case of disseminated BCG disease and review 27 additional cases identified from a review of > 5,000 reports published between 1980 and 1996. Twenty-four of the 28 total cases were associated with an immune deficiency, including nine cases of AIDS. Seventy-one percent of the cases occurred in children younger than 2 years old. Sixty-eight percent of the patients were male. About one-half of the patients were vaccinated in a developed nation, but 85% of the cases were reported from a developed nation. Response to therapy was poor, with an overall mortality rate of 71%. We made two new observations. Disseminated BCG disease has historically been a disease of infants, but cases now occur in adults and older children coinfected with human immunodeficiency virus. Cases also occur after revaccination of individuals who were anergic following the initial administration of BCG vaccine. Disseminated BCG disease is an uncommon but devastating complication of vaccination that should be considered in the appropriate clinical setting. Immunocompromised infants and patients with late-stage AIDS are at greatest risk and respond poorly to standard therapies.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • BCG Vaccine / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Vaccination / adverse effects*


  • BCG Vaccine