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Abstract

Introduction

In 2006, the Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccination policy in Finland changed from universal to selective.

Aim

We assessed the impact of the policy change on tuberculosis (TB) morbidity in children under 5 years and epidemiological trends of paediatric TB in Finland.

Methods

We conducted a nationwide, population-based, retrospective registry study of all newly diagnosed active TB cases younger than 15 years in Finland from 1995 to 2015 by linking data from the National Infectious Diseases Register, Finnish Care Register for Health Care, medical patient records and Finnish Population Information System. We compared the TB incidence rate ratio of under 5 year-olds with universal and selective BCG vaccinations with a Poisson log-linear model and analysed incidence trends among those younger than 15 years with a negative binomial model.

Results

We identified 139 paediatric TB cases: 50 native (including 24 second-generation migrants) and 89 foreign-born children. The TB rate of under 5 year-olds remained stable after changing to selective BCG vaccination (incidence rate ratio (IRR): 1.3; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.7–2.3). TB rate in the native population under 15 years increased slightly (IRR = 1.06; 95% CI: 1.01–1.11).

Discussion

Paediatric TB cases in Finland were concentrated in families with migrant background from high-TB incidence countries. The native TB morbidity in under 5-year-olds did not increase after the BCG policy revision, suggesting that selective vaccinations can prevent TB in the most vulnerable age group in low-incidence settings. Second-generation migrants under 15 years in Finland with high TB risk are probably increasing.

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/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2021.26.11.1900711
2021-03-18
2021-10-28
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2021.26.11.1900711
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