14 Nov 2016

Changes to the Country Information Pages: Tuberculosis

NaTHNaC has reviewed and updated the tuberculosis (TB) country specific information in order to provide up-to-date recommendations for travellers and travel health professionals Changes to the Country Information Pages: Tuberculosis

Country Information: Revised Tuberculosis risk

NaTHNaC has recently reviewed the information from the World Health Organization (WHO) on the incidence of TB in each country from 2012 to 2014 [1]. Where no or limited data was available for a country, an expert consensus opinion was formed based on the most recent available information including contacting ministries of health for information.

Some travellers to countries where the average annual incidence of all forms of tuberculosis of ≥40 cases per 100,000 population from 2012 to 2014 may be recommended to receive BCG vaccination [2].

In addition, where the last reported annual incidence of tuberculosis was ≥40 cases per 100,000 population at least once for 2012 to 2014, some travellers may also be recommended to receive BCG vaccination.

Based on the criteria above El Salvador, Kosovo, Maldives and Singapore have a new recommendation for some travellers to receive BCG vaccination.

The country information pages for these countries have been updated accordingly. Additional wording changes will occur in due course to other country information pages, but will not affect the vaccine recommendations.

Advice for travellers

TB is a vaccine-preventable disease. The current UK vaccination programme recommends Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination for some children below 16 years of age travelling to countries where the annual incidence of TB is ≥40 cases per 100,000 population [2].

More information about TB can be found here.

Advice for health professionals

BCG vaccination recommendations:
In general, BCG vaccination is not recommended for travellers to countries where the annual incidence of TB incidence is <40/100,000.

BCG vaccination should be considered for immunocompetent travellers to countries with a presumed or average annual TB incidence ≥40/100,000 if they fall into the following groups [2]:

Children from age 6 to under 16 years of age who are unvaccinated, tuberculin skin test negative, and are going to live for more than 3 months in a high incidence country.

Children less than 6 years old who are unvaccinated and are going to live for more than 3 months in a high incidence country. These children usually do not require a tuberculin skin test before BCG vaccination.

Unvaccinated, tuberculin skin test negative individuals under 35 years of age at risk due to their work such as: healthcare workers, prison staff and vets, irrespective of duration of stay. Healthcare workers may be vaccinated over the age of 35 years, following careful risk assessment.

World overview 

TB Vaccination Recommendations World Overview WHO data

Tuberculosis mean incidence per 100 000 population based on 2012-2014 WHO data. Vaccination is recommended for some travellers to countries with incidence rates at or above 40 cases per 100 000 population (see Country Information for details).

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