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Euro Surveill. 2015 Mar 19;20(11). pii: 21064.

Impact of the BCG vaccination policy on tuberculous meningitis in children under 6 years in metropolitan France between 2000 and 2011.

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Sorbonne Universites, UPMC Univ Paris 06, CR7, Centre d Immunologie et des Maladies Infectieuses, CIMI, Team E13 (Bacteriology), Paris, France.


In France, Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccination by multipuncture device was withdrawn in 2006. In 2007, universal mandatory BCG vaccination was replaced by vaccination of high-risk children. To evaluate the impact of these changes on tuberculous meningitis (TBM) epidemiology, data on culture-positive and culture-negative (or unknown microbiological result) TBM in ≤5 years olds were collected from 2000–2011. Ten culture-positive and 17 culture-negative TBM cases were identified, with an annual incidence rate ranging from 0.16 to 0.66 cases per 10 million inhabitants. The average annual numbers of TBM cases were 2.7 and 1.8 from 2000–2005 and 2006–2011, respectively. In Ile-de-France where all children are considered at risk, the overall incidence rates were 1.14 and 0.29 per million for the two periods. In other regions where only at-risk children are vaccinated since 2007, rates were 0.30 and 0.47, respectively. None of these differences were significant. Annual incidence rates for each one year age group cohort were comparable before and after changes. Childhood TBM remains rare in France. No increase in incidence was observed after changes in BCG vaccination strategy. Ongoing surveillance should be maintained, as a slight increase in TBM in the coming years remains possible, in the context of suboptimal vaccination coverage of high-risk children.

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