Although there are very few cases of tuberculosis in Belgium, this disease continues to be a significant public health problem that requires continual vigilance.

The BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin) vaccine protects young children from severe childhood forms of tuberculosis.

In Belgium, the vaccine is only considered for certain subjects at risk:

  • people working in the healthcare sector who may come into contact with patients 
  • children under five years of age traveling to countries with a high prevalence of tuberculosis. 

However, BCG vaccine efficacy is limited to extra-pulmonary forms of the disease. Although the BCG vaccine is routinely administered at birth in countries where the disease is endemic, the contagion caused by the lung form against which the BCG vaccine is ineffective persists, and tuberculosis therefore remains a major public health problem.

More information on vaccines can be found on the ‘vaccination info’ website.

Sciensano contributes to the fight against tuberculosis by providing rapid diagnosis, by monitoring the antibiotic resistance of bacterial strains, by detecting epidemics, and developing new and more effective vaccines and treatments. The Belgian Official Medicines Control Laboratory (OMCL) of Sciensano, together with the European OMCL network, is responsible for the quality control of the tuberculosis vaccine prior to marketing.

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