The Mycobacterium bovis strain, bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is one of the most widely used human vaccines and remains one of the safest vaccines available. It has been used in human populations for over 80 years and 100 million children receive the vaccine annually. It has also been employed extensively for vaccine studies in laboratory animal hosts and is currently being developed for use in a variety of livestock and wild animals. Despite the large number of doses delivered since is first usage in 1921, reports of adverse reactions arising from the use of the BCG vaccine are relatively uncommon and where serious reactions do occur they are often the result of vaccination of immuno-compromised individuals. Factors that may influence the development of adverse reactions to BCG include the potency and dose of the vaccine strain, the route of delivery, the age and immune status of the host, and the skill levels of the operator administering the vaccine. Circumstances affecting the notification of adverse reactions include the lack of clear case definitions of abnormal vaccine reactions, and a scarcity of systematic surveillance and functioning reporting systems. With continued use of the BCG and the development of a new generation of prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines against tuberculosis in different host species, the risk factors associated with adverse reactions may need to be reappraised.
University College Dublin ->