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December 18, 1972

BCG Vaccination and Leukemia Mortality

Author Affiliations

From the Institution for Tuberculosis Research, departments of preventive medicine and microbilogy, University of Illinois Medical Center, Chicago Board of Health, Cook County Hospital, Research Foundation.

JAMA. 1972;222(12):1543-1544. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03210120041010

In Chicago from 1964 through 1969, one death from leukemia was recorded among 54,414 infants 0 through 6 years of age, who were vaccinated at birth with BCG vaccine, a rate of 0.31/100,000/yr. In contrast, among 172,986 infants of a similar age and race who were not vaccinated, 21 deaths were reported, a rate of 2.02/100,000/ yr. The difference is statistically significant (P =.04) and suggests the value of BCG vaccinations in preventing leukemia in children, but since this is a retrospective study, no firm conclusions can be drawn.

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