Common questions

How do you test for Bordetella pertussis?


How do you test for Bordetella pertussis?

Clinicians commonly use several types of laboratory tests to diagnose Bordetella pertussis. Scientists consider culture the gold standard because it is the only 100% specific method for identification. Other tests that can be performed include polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and serology.

What swab is used for pertussis?

Sample collection technique is critical in pertussis testing. For testing by PCR and culture, a nasopharyngeal (NP) swab or nasal aspirate is used. The nasopharyngeal swab is collected by having you tip your head back and then a swab is gently inserted into one of your nostrils until resistance is met.

What is a PCR test for pertussis?

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is an important tool for timely diagnosis of pertussis and is increasingly available to clinicians. PCR is a molecular technique used to detect DNA sequences of the Bordetella pertussis bacterium and unlike culture, does not require viable (live) bacteria present in the specimen.

Can you have pertussis and not know it?

Yes. You can have whooping cough without realizing it and infect others. This is especially important to know for people who are going to be around babies or pregnant women. Any time you have a runny nose or cough, you should stay away from high-risk people, and make sure you are vaccinated before seeing them.

How long will pertussis last?

Whooping cough can last up to 10 weeks and can lead to pneumonia and other complications. The symptoms of whooping cough may look like other medical conditions. Always consult your health care provider for a diagnosis.

How long does it take to collect a pertussis swab?

Specimen Collection. A properly obtained NP swab or aspirate is essential for optimal results (see Figures 1 & 2 ). If culture is planned, once an NP swab has been collected it should be directly plated or immediately placed into transport medium. Laboratory scientists should plate NP swabs and aspirates within 24 hours of collection.

Which is the best specimen to test for pertussis?

Optimal Specimen Collection for PCR Testing for Pertussis. Specimens for PCR testing should be obtained by aspiration or swabbing the posterior nasopharynx. Throat swabs and anterior nasal swabs have unacceptably low rates of DNA recovery and should not be used for pertussis diagnosis.

How can you tell if someone has pertussis?

Determining who has pertussis can be difficult. Whenever possible, clinicians should obtain a nasopharyngeal (NP) swab or aspirate from all persons with suspected cases. A properly obtained NP swab or aspirate is essential for optimal results (see Figures 1 & 2 ).

When to use a dry swab for whooping cough?

A throat swab should be sent using a dry swab if possible. For persistant symptoms of more than 2 weeks a Bordetella pertussis antibody test may be of value. Pertussis (whooping cough) is a notifiable disease. Click for notification form.