Infants born in Australia to mothers from countries with a high prevalence of tuberculosis: to BCG or not to BCG?

Amanda Gwee, Ranmali Rodrigo, Dan Casalaz, Nicole Ritz and Nigel Curtis
Med J Aust 2014; 200 (3): . || doi: 10.5694/mja13.11367
Published online: 17 February 2014

In reply: Our suggestion that routine BCG vaccination be considered for all infants born to mothers from countries with a high prevalence of tuberculosis (TB) was based on the finding that the current arbitrary system, relying on parents seeking out a BCG vaccination service, is unreliable. We found that 73% of such infants met the criteria for BCG vaccination according to the Australian immunisation guidelines,1 but almost 90% of mothers were unaware of the need for this vaccine. Moreover, the surveyed women had 47 other children who had already travelled to high-TB-prevalence countries for 1 month or longer, of whom more than half (26) had not had the BCG vaccine.2

  • Amanda Gwee1
  • Ranmali Rodrigo2
  • Dan Casalaz2
  • Nicole Ritz3
  • Nigel Curtis3

  • 1 Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Mercy Hospital for Women, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 3 Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC.


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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