Bacillus Calmette-Guérin revaccination questionable with low tuberculosis incidence

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1998 Apr;157(4 Pt 1):1324-7. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.157.4.9706037.


Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) revaccination was discontinued in Finland in 1990. The objective of this study was to assess the impact of BCG revaccination of tuberculin-negative school-children in prevention of tuberculosis. The tuberculosis cases in 1990-1995 were calculated among age cohorts born 1979-1984 and no longer covered by the BCG revaccination program. Corresponding data were collected for comparison from the period of revaccination in 1980-1985 among age cohorts born in 1969-1974. The National Tuberculosis Register was reviewed in order to observe the tuberculosis trend since 1980 in the age groups of 10-14 and 15-19 yr. Three cases of tuberculosis have been registered among non-BCG-revaccinated children during 6 yr after discontinuation of the program, i.e., 2.23 cases (95% CI 0.72 to 6.90) per million person yr. The control group revealed five cases, 3.78 (95% CI 1.57 to 9.07) per million person yr. The relative risk of tuberculosis in non-BCG-revaccinated children is 0.59 (95% CI 0.14 to 2.47) compared with the control group. The incidence of tuberculosis has continued to decline among adolescents since 1980. The follow-up data confirm that the cessation of BCG revaccination program had no effect on the continuing overall decline of tuberculosis in Finland. The efficacy of BCG revaccination seems to be low or nonexistent in countries with low tuberculosis incidence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • BCG Vaccine*
  • Child
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunization, Secondary*
  • Incidence
  • Risk Factors
  • Tuberculin Test
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / epidemiology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / prevention & control*


  • BCG Vaccine