The sixty-year story of Finnish Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) osteitis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Aim: A review published in 2015 showed that 331 Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) osteitis cases were globally reported in 1976-2012. The 222 Finnish cases from 1960 to 1988 formed two-thirds of all cases. The present narrative review summarises epidemiological, clinical and immunological findings obtained from this Finnish cohort in relation to data from other countries. Methods: Six reports including 93 BCG osteitis cases, which were not included in the 2015 review, were identified from PubMed. Results: In all, 424 BCG osteitis cases have been published. Population-based data were available only from Finland and Taiwan. The BCG osteitis incidence in Finnish infants was 6.4/100 000/year in 1960-1988 compared to 3.4/100 000/year in Taiwanese infants in 1998-2012. The incidence in Finland increased to 36.9/100 000 in 1971-1977, and the vaccinations were temporarily discontinued. Over half of lesions were in lower limbs and nearly all were solitary in both cohorts. The outcomes after surgery and chemotherapy were good. Immunology of BCG osteitis was studied only in the Finnish cohort. There were deviations from population data in polymorphisms of genes regulating Toll-like receptors 1, 2 and 6, mannose-binding lectin and interleukin-17A. Conclusion: BCG osteitis after vaccination is rare. Preliminary findings in innate immunity raise a question of genetic background.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1119-1124
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Issue number4
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • Bacillus Calmette-Guérin
  • BCG osteitis
  • BCG vaccination
  • innate immunity

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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