What is Tuberculosis (TB) and should you receive the BCG vaccination?

Tuberculosis (or TB for short) is an important bacterial infection and we can offer the BCG vaccination to protect you from TB and its serious, life threatening forms. Although it usually affects your lungs, it can involve any organ in your body including the brain and spine.

But I thought we had eradicated TB a long time ago?

Unfortunately not. Although it was commonplace in Victorian England when it was colloquially referred to as ‘consumption’, TB has made a comeback over the last few decades. We still have about 4000-5000 cases  per year in the UK.

Don’t school kids receive the BCG vaccination anyway?

A BCG vaccine vial from the Serum Institute of India

BCG vaccination

UK scrapped routine BCG vaccination in 2005. Your children will only receive it if they are thought be high risk (see below)

So how do I catch TB?

When you cough, tiny droplets are expelled from your lungs. These droplets can carry the TB bacteria which can then be inhaled by anyone in the same room.

What symptoms might I expect?

As you can imagine, respiratory symptoms such cough, sputum with or without blood are common. You might also experience night sweats, fevers and weight loss. If you have any of these symptoms and they last for more than  two weeks despite antibiotics, then you should ask your doctor to consider the possibility of TB.

Is it treatable?

Absolutely. Although you have to take antibiotics for 6 months, TB is entirely curable.

How can I protect myself?

The BCG vaccine  is a weakened strain of the bacteria Mycobacterium bovis. It protects you from the severe, life threatening forms such as TB meningitis but does not  stop you from contracting TB itself – you should be aware of this important fact.

Administering the BCG Vaccine

Doctor vaccinating newborn baby with the BCG vaccination

Should I get the BCG vaccination? – Yes but only if you are at high risk

Please note the vaccine is likely to be less effective if you are aged over 35 years

Individuals who should receive the BCG vaccination

  • People born in a high risk country
  • People whose parents or grandparents were born in a high risk country
  • Healthcare workers (doctors, dentists, nurses, dental assistants, dental nurses physiotherapists, occupational therapists, etc)
  • Laboratory workers
  • Anyone at occupational risk such as abbatoir workers
  • Veterinary staff
  • Travellers who are staying in a high risk country for more than 3 months
  • Healthcare workers who are working in a high risk country


Where can I get the BCG vaccination?

Travel Klinix can offer BCG vaccination at our clinic in Coventry. If you would like to know more you can make an online enquiry or call us on 02476 016519