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January 15, 1988

BCG Vaccine Abscesses Are Unrelated to HIV Infection

JAMA. 1988;259(3):352. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720030020015

To the Editor.  —Concern has been expressed about the administration of live vaccines to young children with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.1 There is a theoretical possibility that these children will have an adverse response to these vaccines (ie, to oral poliovirus, measles virus, and BCG vaccines). We were therefore concerned when, between September and December 1986, we noted an outbreak of axillary and epicondylar abscesses in children in Kinshasa vaccinated with BCG vaccine. We wondered if the development of these abscesses had been favored by an underlying HIV infection in the vaccinated children.

Study.  —All children vaccinated with BCG vaccine presenting with abscesses at Mama Yemo Hospital during October and November 1986 were screened for HIV antibodies using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Nineteen children (ten boys and nine girls) aged from 2 to 7 months were enrolled in the study. Abscesses were axillary and/or epicondylar and were localized