Evaluation of tuberculin reactivity in BCG-immunized siblings.

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The purpose of the present study was to determine in BCG-immunized sibships < or = 14 yr of age whether the correlations of intensity of tuberculin reactivity support a genetic regulation of the response to BCG immunization. The study population consisted of 659 healthy children living in 265 households exposed to an adult with tuberculosis: 38 children did not have a BCG scar, 327 children had one BCG scar, and 294 had two BCG scars from vaccinations at birth and at 6 yr of age. There were 603 full siblings, 16 half-siblings, and 40 unrelated children. Tuberculin testing was performed by one trained nurse. Sibling correlations of the intensity of the tuberculin response were calculated after adjusting for various nongenetic covariates that could be important in predicting it. The sibling correlations were significant at the 1% significance level. There was no significant correlation of tuberculin reactivity among unrelated children in the same household. These results are consistent with genetic regulation of the development and persistence of tuberculin reactivity after BCG immunization.

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