When considering testing for Bordetella Pertussis, PCR is the test of choice during the acute stages of pertussis infection, up to 4 weeks after the onset of symptoms.
Not used for immune status.The presence of B. pertussis IgG is not a reliable indicator for a patient’s immune status and should not be used in this context. We do not process samples for Bordetella immunity status. Where immune status is needing to be assessed, immunisation history and/or booster immunisation is recommended.
Serology is still of value for epidemiological surveillance and will from the 1st January 2020 routinely only be performed when requested by a public health team involved in outbreak management. Outside of this criteria, tests that are clinically indicated will be considered following contact and discussion with the clinical Microbiologist.
Bordetella Pertussis serology guidelines (updated Dec 2019)
Microbiology - Serology
Whooping cough serology
Chilled (2 - 8 degrees Celsius)
If overnight - Chilled (2 - 8 degrees Celsius)
Preferred aliquot serum 2mL
IgG levels in U/ml
>100 U/ml Indication for an acute infection or recent vaccination.
40-100 U/ml Further investigation is recommended
<40 U/ml No indication for an acute infection.
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Onset date of illness desirable. Bordetella IgG is the only test performed.Serology should only be performed 2-3 weeks post onset of illness. In the early stages of pertussis, PCR testing on a nasopharyngeal swab is the test of choice.