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Effects of BCG vaccination on evolution of leprosy

Medical Journal Armed Forces India
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0377-1237(05)80113-3
  • Bcg Vaccine
  • Leprosy
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Abstract Background: BCG vaccine is considered to have immunoprophylactic potential in leprosy. However controversy exists about the extent of prophylaxis it provides. In view of this, a study was undertaken to see the evolution of disease in established cases of leprosy who were already vaccinated with BCG and to compare it with the cases of leprosy who were not vaccinated with BCG. Methods: 114 newly diagnosed cases of leprosy were studied. Patients were divided into two groups-BCG vaccinated and non-vaccinated. Clinical diagnosis of leprosy was confirmed by bacteriological and histopathological studies in each case. All patients were given standard anti leprosy treatment and were evaluated monthly for a minimum period of one year. Results: All the cases were males in the age group of 20 to 50 years. 25.4% of cases had received BCG vaccine and 74.6% were not vaccinated for the same. No significant difference was observed in the incidence of different types of leprosy in vaccinated and non-vaccinated groups. 25.9% cases in non-vaccinated group developed lepra reaction as compared to 13.8% in vaccinated group. The incidence of deformities and disabilities in vaccinated group was only 10.3% as against 18.8% in non-vaccinated group. The rate of bacillary clearance appeared faster in vaccinated group. Conclusions: Although there is no significant difference in the pattern of different types of leprosy in BCG vaccinated and non-vaccinated cases, there is reduction in the incidence of reactions as well as deformities and disabilities in BCG vaccinated cases as compared to non-vaccinated cases.

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