The vaccine for tuberculosis is known as the  (bacille Calmette–Guérin) and is recommended for:

  • some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander neonates
  • some healthcare workers
  • some travellers
  • some Australian-born children of migrants
  • young children born to parents with leprosy, or household contacts with leprosy

The disease

Tuberculosis is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Most infected people have latent tuberculosis infection, which means they are not ill and not infectious. People with tuberculosis disease, in contrast, are ill and usually infectious.

Tuberculosis most commonly presents as lung disease, which accounts for 60% of notified tuberculosis cases in Australia. Common symptoms of pulmonary tuberculosis are:

  • cough
  • fever
  • sweats
  • weight loss
  • coughing up blood

Extrapulmonary tuberculosis can occur in any part of the body, and disseminated disease (miliary tuberculosis) and meningeal tuberculosis are more common in very young children. These are among the most serious manifestations of tuberculosis disease.

The vaccine

For more information on tuberculosis and the BCG vaccine, please see here.

For a more global perspective, this interactive website provides detailed information on current and past BCG policies and practices for over 180 countries.

Page reviewed November 2018.
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