Bordetella pertussis antibodies - nasopharyngeal secretions, serum

Last updated: Friday, 07, September, 2007

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Item Process

Nasopharyngeal aspirate: 5-10 mL blood in plain tube.


EIA for IgA antibodies.


Suspected pertussis early in the course of the illness, in conjunction with culture or nucleic acid detection after amplification.

Serum antibody test may be useful for retrospective diagnosis.


IgA antibodies are detectable in nasopharyngeal secretions early in the course of infection and their presence is short-lived, so a positive result provides evidence for recent infection.

Serum IgA antibodies do not become positive until later and can remain positive for several years.

IgA antibodies are not stimulated by vaccination, so a positive result in a vaccinated patient indicates past or current infection.

Only a minority of infants develop serum antibodies so the sensitivity of this test is poor.


Müller FC et al. J Clin Microbiol 1997; 35: 2435-2443.