Background: Mycobacterium bovis Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) osteitis, a rare complication of BCG vaccination, has not been well investigated in Korea. This study aimed to evaluate the clinical characteristics of BCG osteitis during the recent 10 years in Korea.
Methods: Children diagnosed with BCG osteitis at the Seoul National University Children's Hospital from January 2007 to March 2018 were included. M. bovis BCG was confirmed by multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in the affected bone. BCG immunization status and clinical information were reviewed retrospectively.
Results: Twenty-one patients were diagnosed with BCG osteitis and their median symptom onset from BCG vaccination was 13.8 months (range, 6.0-32.5). Sixteen children (76.2%) received Tokyo-172 vaccine by percutaneous multiple puncture method, while four (19.0%) and one (4.8%) received intradermal Tokyo-172 and Danish strain, respectively. Common presenting symptoms were swelling (76.2%), limited movement of the affected site (63.2%), and pain (61.9%) while fever was only accompanied in 19.0%. Femur (33.3%) and the tarsal bones (23.8%) were the most frequently involved sites; and demarcated osteolytic lesions (63.1%) and cortical breakages (42.1%) were observed on plain radiographs. Surgical drainage was performed in 90.5%, and 33.3% of them required repeated surgical interventions due to persistent symptoms. Antituberculosis medications were administered for a median duration of 12 months (range, 12-31). Most patients recovered without evident sequelae.
Conclusion: Highly suspecting BCG osteitis based on clinical manifestations is important for prompt management. A comprehensive national surveillance system is needed to understand the exact incidence of serious adverse reactions following BCG vaccination and establish safe vaccination policy in Korea.