Bordetella pertussis detection - nasopharyngeal secretions

Last updated: Friday, 19, March, 2004

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Item Process
Specimen

Nasopharyngeal aspirate or swab; aspirate is preferred.

PCR testing may be performed on a throat swab (check with local laboratory).

Method

Culture, nucleic acid probe after PCR amplification.

Application

Suspected pertussis.

Interpretation

A positive result confirms a clinical diagnosis of whooping cough.

Nucleic acid detection after PCR amplification is more sensitive than culture.

Testing is usually negative if symptoms have been present for more than one month.

Reference

Farrell DJ et al. J Clin Microbiol 1999; 37: 606-610.