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BCG vaccination as a cause of osteomyelitis and subcutaneous abscess.
  1. H Peltola,
  2. I Salmi,
  3. V Vahvanen,
  4. J Ahlqvist


    Ten patients with osteomyelitis and three with a subcutaneous abscess, all caused by BCG vaccination, are described. All patients were less than 3 years old and had as newborns been vaccinated intracutaneously in the left gluteal or hip area. Pain, limping, or a slightly tender subcutaneous induration were the primary symptoms. The sites of predilection of osteomyelitis were the metaphysis or epiphysis of the femur, these being affected in five out of 10 cases. All three subcutaneous abscesses were in the thoracic region. Prolonged (up to 30 months) combined tuberculostatic medication, in addition to appropriate surgical procedures, resulted in healing, but two cases of arthritis and two of secondary abscesses developed. In addition, sequestrectomy and two late operations, for coxa valga and hip subluxation, were deemed to be necessary. Radiographs showed femoral overgrowth of up to 1 cm in two symptomless patients three to seven years after the first discharge. We conclude that the benefits of BCG vaccination should be weighed against the risk of complications, especially in countries with a low incidence of tuberculosis.

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