Utility of PCR assays for rapid diagnosis of BCG infection in children

W. J. Su, C. Y. Huang, C. Y. Huang, R. P. Perng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


We report Mycobacterium bovis BCG infection in two children vaccinated with BCG (Tokyo strain) on the first day of life. Their diagnoses were made by biopsy of skin lesions and pus from an anterior chest wall abscess, respectively, yielding a positive culture of mycobacteria fully susceptible to rifampicin, isoniazid and ethambutol, but resistant to pyrazinamide. M. bovis BCG was identified by a negative niacin test, absence of nitrate reductase and resistance to pyrazinamide and cycloserine. The diagnoses were further confirmed by a combination of an allele-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and a multiplex PCR method. Based on the drug susceptibility results, treatment with rifampicin, isoniazid and ethambutol was instituted. One patient (Case 1) improved clinically and is well after treatment. However, the other patient with severe combined immunodeficiency died of disseminated BCG infection in spite of intensive anti-tuberculosis therapy. Although BCG is considered to be a safe vaccine, it should be kept in mind that complications related to BCG do occur.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-384
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG)
  • Children
  • Polymerase chain reaction
  • Vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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