White infants miss BCG

Greater awareness of the fact that some white children are at risk of TB is necessary to improve poor vaccination rates, UK researchers have said.

A study in Wales found that white British children at risk for TB were under-vaccinated compared to other ethnic groups.

The research examined the rates of BCG vaccination among at-risk infants in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.

Out of the 5,308 births in 2003, 10 per cent were at risk of TB. While 82 per cent of the at-risk group were referred post-natally for a BCG, vaccination rates for each ethnic group varied.

Black infants and those of south-east Asian origin had vaccination rates just over 80 per cent. But for white British infants, the rate was just 37 per cent. Overall, the BCG rate among at-risk infants was 76 per cent.

The authors of the study concluded that health professionals needed to recognise that certain white children are at risk of TB in order to improve BCG coverage.

- Thorax 2006;2006:247-9

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