Objective: To assess the effectiveness of single-dose rifampicin (SDR) after bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccination in preventing leprosy in contacts. Methods: This was a single-centre, cluster-randomized controlled trial at a leprosy control programme in northwest Bangladesh. Participants were the 14 988 contacts of 1552 new leprosy patients who were randomized into the SDR − arm (n = 7379) and the SDR + arm (n = 7609). In the intervention group, BCG vaccination was followed by SDR 8–12 weeks later. In the control group, BCG vaccination only was given. Follow-up was performed at 1 year and 2 years after intake. The main outcome measure was the occurrence of leprosy. Results: The incidence rate per 10 000 person-years at risk was 44 in the SDR − arm and 31 in the SDR + arm at 1 year; the incidence rate was 34 in the SDR − arm and 41 in the SDR + arm at 2 years. There was a statistically non-significant (p = 0.148; 42%) reduction for paucibacillary (PB) leprosy in the SDR+ arm at 1 year. Of all new cases, 33.6% appeared within 8–12 weeks after BCG vaccination. Conclusions: In the first year, SDR after BCG vaccination reduced the incidence of PB leprosy among contacts by 42%. This was a statistically non-significant reduction due to the limited number of cases after SDR was administered. To what extent SDR suppresses excess leprosy cases after BCG vaccination is difficult to establish because many cases appeared before the SDR intervention. Trial registration: Netherlands Trial Register: NTR3087.
Richardus, R., Alam, K., Kundu, K., Chandra Roy, J., Zafar, T., Chowdhury, A. S., … Richardus, J. H. (2019). Effectiveness of single-dose rifampicin after BCG vaccination to prevent leprosy in close contacts of patients with newly diagnosed leprosy: A cluster randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 88, 65–72. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2019.08.035