[The protective efficacy of BCG against leprosy in São Paulo, Brazil].Bol Oficina Sanit Panam 1995; 119(5):415-21BO
The protection against leprosy conferred by BCG vaccination was evaluated in a case-control study. Selected for the study were 97 patients under 16 years of age who had been diagnosed with leprosy (cases) and 385 healthy persons (controls), who were matched according to sex, age, place of residence, and type of contact (intra- or extradomicilliary). The cases were selected from a register of active cases as well as a series of new leprosy patients treated in 50 centers in the city of São Paulo, Brasil. To estimate the protective effect of BCG, the prevalences of BCG scars among cases and controls were compared. The presence of one or more scars was associated with a protective efficacy of 90% (95% confidence interval: 78%-96%). Stratified analysis by age group, sex, socioeconomic level, and clinical form of leprosy did not reveal any important differences in the protection conferred by the vaccine. The significance of these findings and the appropriateness of using BCG in leprosy control programs is discussed.