Microbiological Description of Bordetella pertussis and Laboratory Diagnosis of Whooping Cough

Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. 2003; 5(4):329-341

Journal article


Whooping cough remains a significant problem worldwide, even in countries with high number of immunized people. However, a lack of sensitive, specific and reproducible diagnostics for this infection that would meet the needs of healthcare system still exists. In 1980–90s, novel information on antigen structure and virulence factors of Bordetella pertussis was discovered. This paper presents a review of data on microbiological properties of B.pertussis and related bacteria. Virulence factors of Bordetella pertussis as well as their role in pathogenesis of pertussis and protective immunity to the infection in humans are described. Some aspects of pathogenesis of whooping cough are also considered. Currently existing laboratory methods for the diagnosis of infection caused by Bordetella pertussis, their advantages and disadvantages are reviewed.

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