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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 38  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 239-243

Bacille Calmette–Guerin lymphadenitis in infants: A lesser known entity – Report of two cases

Department of Pathology, Seth GSMC and KEMH, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. T Santosh
Department of Pathology, Seth GSMC and KEMH, Parel, Mumbai - 400 012, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jmedsci.jmedsci_1_18

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Bacille Calmette–Guerin (BCG) vaccine containing live-attenuated Mycobacterium bovis was first used in humans to prevent tuberculosis (TB) in 1921. Intradermal BCG vaccine gives rise to classic primary complex that consists of a cutaneous nodule at the site of injection and subclinical involvement of the regional lymph nodes, which is self-limiting and requires no treatment. BCG lymphadenitis is the most common complication of BCG vaccination. Fine-needle aspiration is the rapid, safe, and cost-effective method for diagnosis as well as the management of BCG lymphadenitis. Awareness of this lesser known entity is important to prevent misdiagnosis. We report two cases of 2½ month and 6-month healthy male infants with left axillary lymphadenopathy following BCG vaccination. Fine-needle aspiration from both the cases revealed features of necrotizing granulomatous lymphadenitis with Ziehl-Neelsen stain for acid-fast bacilli being positive in 2nd case. Ipsilateral regional lymph node enlargement following BCG vaccination is considered as the most common complication, some progress to suppuration. Very rarely disseminated BCG infection may develop in immune-compromised individuals, resulting in a devastating outcome. Variable strategies have been applied in treating lymphadenitis related to BCG vaccine in the past decade, ranging from observation, antimycobacterial therapy, aspiration, incision, and drainage to lymph node surgical excision.

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