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Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services


Laboratory: Molecular Detection and Characterization and Microbial Reference

Test Description: Isolation and identification of Bordetella species, particularly Bordetella pertussis and Bordetella parapertussis.

Order Approval Required? Prior to first submission of Pertussis samples to Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS). Submitter must contact Molecular Detection and Characterization for instructions.

Specimen Type: Nasopharyngeal calcium alginate swab, Nasopharyngeal aspirate/wash, Isolate slant or plate

Collection Container: For clinical specimens, PERTKIT (collection kit), For isolates, Regan Lowe media or other media that support the growth of Bordetella species

Optimal Volume: Not Applicable

Collection Guidelines: Refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Website

Storage Container: Not Applicable

Storage Instructions: Store at 2-8°C

Transportation Instructions: Calcium alginate swabs for culture are placed in Regan Lowe transport tubes and transported at room temperature if sent within 24 hours of collection. If specimens cannot be sent within 24 hours, calcium alginate swabs should be placed in Regan Lowe transport tube and kept refrigerated until shipped. For isolate slants, transport at room temperature. For aspirate/wash, transport in a catheter trap on cold packs.

Test Methodology: Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and conventional culture techniques

Additional Information: The isolation of Bordetella pertussis is always significant. Patients who are symptomatic have pertussis; those who do not have symptoms are carriers and represent a public health risk. Both should be treated.

Causes For Rejection:

  • Specimens collected on rayon (rayon is used for PCR only) or cotton swabs, as they contain fatty acids that inhibit growth.
  • Specimens with no name or identifier, mismatched specimens and test request forms.
  • Media that has expired prior to inoculation.
  • Demonstration of improper collection, incorrect transport media, exposure to temperature extremes.
  • Broken transport media.
  • Throat, nare swabs, and sputums are unacceptable specimens.
  • Regan Lowe Transport tubes without swabs.

Possible Results: All Bordetella pertussis and Bordetella parapertussis isolates are fully identified. Other Bordetella species may also be identified.