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The BCG World Atlas: a world first in the fight against tuberculosis
Date:3/22/2011

Tuberculosis (TB) continues to pose a major global health threat. Someone in the world is newly infected with TB bacteria every second. Every year, more than 9 million people develop active TB and it claims about 2 million lives. In Canada, the overall incidence of TB has declined, but rates remain high among immigrants from endemic countries and among Aboriginal populations. Currently, Nunavut is facing the largest TB outbreak in the territory's 10- year history.

In the days leading up to World TB Day 2011 on March 24, a team of researchers from McGill University and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) is officially launching the BCG World Atlas: a first-of-its-kind, easy-to-use, searchable website that provides free detailed information on current and past TB vaccination policies and practices for more than 180 countries.

"The Atlas is designed to be a useful resource for clinicians, policymakers and researchers alike," said co-author Dr. Madhukar Pai, who is an assistant professor at McGill's Dept. of Epidemiology, Biostatistics & Occupational Health and a researcher in the Respiratory Epidemiology and Clinical Research Unit at the Montreal Chest Institute and the RI MUHC. "It has important implications on diagnosing and treating TB and on the research that's being done on developing a new TB vaccine."

Pai is a senior author on a paper about the BCG World Atlas that will be published in the March edition of the journal PLoS Medicine.

The Bacille Calmette-Gurin (BCG) vaccine was introduced in 1921 and continues to be the only vaccine used to prevent TB. Despite nearly a century of use, the vaccine remains controversial, with known variations in efficacy, strains, policies and practices across the world. Clinicians need to be aware of the various BCG policies in different parts of the world, as well as changes to those policies over time, especially when dealing with foreign-born a
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Contact: Allison Flynn
allison.j.flynn@mcgill.ca
514-398-7698
McGill University
Source:Eurekalert

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