Vaccine at Birth May Diminish Allergies

Published Online: Thursday, July 1, 2004

A multinational group of researchers have found that the Bacille Calmette-Gu?rin (BCG) vaccination at birth appears to stop the development of allergies, according to a report published recently in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. The BCG vaccine is administered in many developing countries to protect against tuberculosis (TB). It is not given in many developed countries, including the United States.

For the study, the researchers examined the effect of the BCG vaccine on the development of allergic disease in 1704 newborns vaccinated at birth in Thailand, Argentina, and Turkey. The infants were followed for 2 years. The results indicated that a positive test showing exposure to TB or the vaccine appeared to protect against allergies. For infants in Thailand and Turkey but not in Argentina, having a negative test result was associated with a statistically significant increase in allergic history at age 2.

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