Background and Aims Between 1/1/2008 and 31/3/2012, 314 internationally adopted children were seen at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp. Screening for tuberculosis is mandatory as most of these children come from countries with a high TB prevalence. Since many of these children had a BCG vaccine around birth, the interpretation of the tuberculin skin test (TST) is a matter of debate. We want to provide additional evidence supporting the statement that the interpretation of the TST is independent of previous BCG vaccination in high risk populations.
Methods TST was performed in 297/314 children. Results were reported back in 269: 154/170 children that had received BCG vaccination and 115/157 who had not been vaccinated.
Results 10/154 (6.4%) children with BCG vaccination and 6/115 (5.2%) of children without BCG vaccination had a positive TST reaction (≥10 mm diameter wheel). There is no significant difference between these 2 groups (chi-square p=0.7). 3/10 and 2/6 of these children had signs of TB on chest radiography.
Conclusions There is no significant influence of BCG vaccination on TST result in children coming from high-prevalence countries. TST should therefore not be omitted in the diagnostic work-up for TB in these children.