2.1 BCG vaccine
2.1.1 What is BCG?
Tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment is fully described in Study Sessions 13 to 17 in the Communicable Diseases Module, Part 2.
You have already learned about the different types of vaccines in Study Session 1. BCG is a live-attenuated antibacterial vaccine that protects against severe forms of tuberculosis in infants and young children. Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It usually attacks the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body, including the bones, joints and brain. The letters, B, C and G stand for Bacillus of Calmette and Guerin.
Bacillus describes the rod shape of the tuberculosis bacteria; Calmette and Guerin are the names of the people who developed the vaccine.
What does a live-attenuated antibacterial vaccine mean?
Bacteria in the vaccine are alive, but they have been weakened (attenuated) in the laboratory so that they cannot cause the disease.