Comparison of molecular detection methods for pertussis in children during a state-wide outbreak

X. Qin, D. M. Zerr, M. P. Kronman, A. L. Adler, J. E. Berry, S. Rich, A. M. Buccat, M. Xu, J. A. Englund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


A state-wide pertussis outbreak occurred in Washington during the winter-spring months of 2012, concurrent with respiratory viral season. We compared performance characteristics of a laboratory-developed pertussis PCR (LD-PCR for Bordetella pertussis, Bordetella parapertussis, and Bordetella holmesii) and rapid multiplex PCR (RM-PCR) for respiratory viruses (FilmArray™, BioFire, B. pertussis data unblinded following FDA approval post outbreak). We analyzed three cohorts of patients using physician testing orders as a proxy for clinical suspicion for pertussis or respiratory viruses: Cohort 1, tested by LD-PCR for pertussis pathogens only by nasopharyngeal swab; Cohort 2, by RM-PCR for respiratory viruses only by mid-nasal turbinate swab; and Cohort 3, by both methods. B. pertussis was detected in a total of 25 of the 490 patients in Cohort 3 in which LD-PCR detected 20/25 (80 %) cases and the RM-PCR detected 24/25 (96 %; p = 0.2). Pertussis pathogens were detected in 21/584 (3.6 %) of samples from Cohort 1 where clinicians had a relatively strong suspicion for pertussis. In contrast, B. pertussis was detected in only 4/3071 (0.1 %) specimens from Cohort 2 where suspicion for pertussis was lower (p < 0.001 for comparison with Cohort 1). In summary, the two laboratory methods were comparable for the detection of B. pertussis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number28
JournalAnnals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 27 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Bordetella pertussis
  • Rapid diagnosis
  • Respiratory viruses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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